Like many of you, I drive on roads. Interstates are best, in my view: Give me a wide expanse of asphalt with no traffic lights or pedestrians and let me cover the ground as quickly as possible. No stopping, no looking around. Just pure, single-minded transport. The simplicity is fantastic.

It appears that I'm not the only one who thinks this way. Every day, there are tens of thousands of motorists streaming through the same channels that I am, often at speeds surpassing 70 mph. Though car accidents at 30 mph can be fatal, many of us hop on the interstate with one intention: to get somewhere faster than we could by any other means.

Yet many of us are surviving the drive day after day. In fact, survival rates are so high that we act as if the ritual isn't even dangerous. We send e-mails, we jam to our music, we exact discipline on fighting children, and we eat full meals all while hurtling down the freeway at speeds that surpass our reflexive abilities. We all stay between the lines, so we feel safe. It's amazing what those little, white painted dashes can do. Inches are all that separate us from each other on the interstate, and yet we all dive in every day.

Why do we trust this spidery network of pavement? It's simple: because we're all there together. There is a diffusion of responsibility. We figure that if this many people are traveling at such and such a speed, it be safe. Certain situations put us in herd mode, and the interstate ...

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