Driving Kingsbury: What’s your hurry? | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Driving Kingsbury: What’s your hurry?

Dan Thrift
A truck navigates one of two switchbacks on Kingsbury Grade. / Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

“Just relax, there’s another one right behind this one,” said a friend as we came up Kingsbury Grade. He was referring to a tailgater, and anyone who drives the grade knows there’s another right behind the one that’s on your bumper.

They are there almost every day on both sides, going up or down. Good road conditions or bad, they’re there. Whether there’s a slow truck in front of you or you’re already doing 50 mph – in a 45-mph zone, might I add – they’re there.

I make the trip almost every day of the week from my home in Gardnerville to the South Shore, and inevitably someone will be on my bumper the whole way.

Do these people think they are going to get there faster by being so close to me?

I’ll be darned if I’m going to turn 3,500 rpm on my Toyota’s four-cylinder-engine just so I can do 50 mph because someone wants to speed up the grade. The posted speed limit is 45, and that’s what I do. My truck has got to last a while.

I do not pull over to the side. If I’m doing 45, that’s fast enough. The entire grade is a no-passing zone. If you need to speed to get to work on time, you need to leave earlier.

I don’t know if it’s because there are more people on the roads and they are used to driving closer together. A good rule of thumb is to stay back 10 feet for every 10 mph you are traveling.

I’ve had people pass me on curves, and even flip me off because I dare to go the speed limit. I’ve learned to ignore them.

The other day I had a guy on my tail the entire trip honking and flashing his lights all the way up from the valley side. He turned into 7-Eleven, probably in a hurry to get a cup of coffee. That’s not a good reason to drive like an idiot and tailgate. I’ve even had a Douglas County Sheriff’s car tailgate me.

So if you drive the grade, be aware of the posted speed limit, don’t tailgate and don’t pass. If you let one pass, know there will be another one behind him, so don’t bother; just accept it and enjoy the beautiful commute.

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