03 February 2018

The psychology of the rush

Do all you can,
with what you have,
in the time you have,
in the place where you are.

(source: Psychology Today - Avoid The Rush)

Since I received a speeding ticket few years ago I wanted to write about this experience. Not to brag or to cry about it but to share my idea of the rush. Especially when you are running late. This is rubbish, it doesn't work. How on Earth moving faster or running like a madman will actually make a difference when you are late already?

Imagine a situation, when you have to drive 10 miles to work. To make things less complicated, there are 2 traffic lights on your way and 3 speed restrictions. If you get a red light you have to wait 1 minute and a speed restrictions are:

  • 30mph for 5 miles
  • 50mph for 3 miles
  • 70mph for 2 miles

The best case scenario within this route would be not having to stop on the traffic lights and to behave nicely obeing rules. This would give you a driving time of 15:23 (10:00 + 3:36 + 1:43) as a base. Or 17:23 if red lights are your friends.

OK. This time has come. You overslept and in the rush now, what would you do? When to speed up and where to slow down?

Bear in mind, I do not recommend speeding as this is the easiest way to hurt yourself or somebody else, so don't drive fast and think ahead!
Theorytically, you will behave nice in a town and speed +10 out of town. How much you will gain?

  • 30mph for 5 miles 10:00 (no change)
  • 60mph for 3 miles 3:00 (36s faster)
  • 80mph for 2 miles 1:30 (13s faster)

You would be 49s faster at work. Still late though.

Another scenario. Still nice in the town, but +20mph out of it.

  • 30mph for 5 miles 10:00 (no change)
  • 70mph for 3 miles 2:34 (1:02 faster)
  • 90mph for 2 miles 1:20 (23s faster)

Not much gained, huh? Being 1:25s faster at work when you are late anyway, won't give you any pats at the back. Another one: driving +5mph all the way:

  • 35mph for 5 miles 8:34 (1:26 faster)
  • 55mph for 3 miles 3:16 (20s faster)
  • 75mph for 2 miles 1:36 (7s faster)

There you go, almost 2 minutes gain (2:53). Now crazy mode.

  • 60mph for 5 miles 5:00 (5:00 faster)
  • 80mph for 3 miles 2:15 (1:21s faster)
  • 100mph for 2 miles 1:12 (31s faster)

To summarise, when you overslept and woke up late already, even crazy mode on the rode will not make you be on time. Yes, you can theoritacalyy make it in half time but... really? It's just a model to not follow. Stay safe!

PS You can do your calculations using Speed distance time calculator.