Re: Risk tolerance
(downvote armour donned - long rant ahead)
If I'm doing 70mph on (bog standard) cruise control on a UK motorway and pull out in good time in order to pass someone doing 60mph (a lorry for e.g.), it is not wrong. It is dangerous to get too close behind the driver in front (I can't see the road ahead), and lorries often have huge blindspots (can I see both his mirrors?) Pulling out in good time also means that I don't have to disengage cruise control and can time it so that I don't get "trapped" behind said slower vehicle.
Now, if traffic comes up behind me in (usually) the middle lane and gets cross because I'm - shock! horror! - driving at the speed limit, I have two reactions. First - you do not have a god-given right to be doing 80 or 90mph on the motorway or to force me out of your way so that you can do so. Second (in most cases) there is a perfectly good third lane available. Dumb drivers who tailgate me at 70mph and then speed off as soon as I pull in, without considering the free lane to their right are just, erm, dumb.
I will not pass back into the left lane until the vehicle I've just overtaken is a decent distance behind. What seems to annoy dumb drivers more than that though is that if this all happens around a junction I will often stay in the middle lane until I have passed the junction. Why? Well, driving the same stretches of motorway allows me to predict where traffic is likely to be joining. Very little of this traffic will be doing 70mph at the end of the slip road and it's far safer to stay in the middle lane on the expectation of joining traffic - obviously at quiet times or for lesser-used junctions this rule doesn't usually apply.
Here's a good one that is either eejit driving or adaptive cruise control at its worst.
There is a section of motorway I drive where a busy junction (lots of leaving and joining traffic) which has seen a couple of nasty accidents in the last few years (at least one of which was fatal to both occupants of the only vehicle involved) is followed about three miles later by the left lane "peeling off", leaving the motorway to continue with two lanes.
A few weeks ago, as I approached this junction in the left lane (just a reminder, this is the UK), a car overtook me. It pulled into the lane just ahead of me and behind a row of traffic I was preparing to pass - most of it slowing down in order to leave the motorway*. As the car which had just overtaken me was also slowing (he'd presumably been somewhere north of 75mph when he passed, and as I was now beginning to catch him up he must have slowed down to 65mph or less - I assumed that as he hadn't pulled out to overtake the slower cars he was also going to exit), I pulled out and went past both him and the cars in front of him, nearly all of which subsequently left the motorway. The car which had just passed me pulled out and slotted into the middle lane behind me, just a little too close for comfort. Got that prediction wrong then.
As is my habit, I stayed out to the end of the junction and once I'd cleared some slower traffic which joined, I pulled back into the left lane expecting my tailgater to put his foot down and disappear into the distance.
Oh no! Not a chance! The car stayed more-or-less where it was, partly in my (small) blindspot, meaning I couldn't (that is, wouldn't feel safe to) pull out in front of him.
This carried on for the next couple of miles until we got to the point where I usually start thinking about pulling in to the middle lane to carry on with the motorway. Ok, so he was playing silly blighters, I was on my way to work and not up for a fight, so I tapped the cruise control down by first 2mph, thinking he would slink past and I could pull out behind, then 3mph when it appeared as if he was slowing down too. He wouldn't go past.
My car isn't a fast one, but it can go when it wants to and I wasn't anticipating being in a race, so I signalled out, kept the thing in top gear and reasonably briskly accelerated. Blow me if the car in my blindspot doesn't keep up! By the time I got to 85mph I realised I wasn't going to win this one (not one for speeding, car probably can't top 100mph anyway), so with barely any other traffic around us I actually used the brakes (rarely need to do that on the motorway) which either the eejit driver wasn't expecting or his eejit cruise control couldn't cope with, and managed to slot in behind him before the lane I was in actually left the motorway. In passing me he was making some very odd hand gestures that I couldn't recognise as being rude, but weren't obviously apologetic ("sorry, I can't work my car properly") either.
He then went sailing off at a good 5mph, maybe 10mph faster than the 71mph I returned to.
Left me very perplexed. Was he "cross" at me for re-overtaking him at the previous junction and was trying to force me to do something stupid? Or was it a case of adaptive cruise control latching on to the only other vehicle within range - mine, even though I was in a different lane?
As it happens, I could actually have stayed in the left lane if things had got silly and taken that exit; it makes my journey to work between 5 and 10 minutes longer (depending on traffic lights), but it's not a bad diversion, and one I often take if it looks as if there is trouble ahead on the actual motorway. That was the obvious fallback plan if the bloke had got stupid, but why???
*apparently it's not the done thing to slow down before you are on the slip road, but 90% of drivers around here don't seem to have read that bit of the Highway Code