Let’s Talk About Driving….

30 September 2021

HANDS ON THE WHEEL – EYES ON THE ROAD

I wrote in my last blog that we have driven across this country 5 times this year.  Since then, Jim and I did one more trip – California to Georgia and Ohio, then back West to Colorado.  It wasn’t the greatest trip ever.  In fact, every long driving day we planned was made much longer by detours or stopped traffic caused by major accidents on the freeway we were driving.  This is not normal. Twice we were detoured off the freeway and routed to rural roads that got us around freeway closures, both times adding 2 hours to our estimated travel time.  Three times we just sat and sat and sat until the roads were cleared.  We didn’t take any pictures of the accidents, but google ‘semis in ditches’ and you’ll get the idea.

Maybe this will be the NEW normal.  Jim and I have been driving for approximately 40 years, and here are a few changes we have observed in those 40 years: 

  • MORE SEMI TRUCKS ON THE ROAD – IN EVERY LANE:  this is to be expected.  People LOVE to shop online and the result is more trucks on the road.  That makes sense.  What is surprising is when trucks are passing me in the left lane, even when I’m driving 5 miles over the speed limit.  They will also jump in front of me unexpectedly when they are going uphill and the trucker in front of them is going slower.  EVEN IF NO ONE IS BEHIND YOU FOR MILES they will change lanes in front of you to go 1 mile an hour faster than the slower truck they are trying to pass.  WATCH OUT FOR THIS IF YOU ARE DRIVING UPHILL.
  • SPEED, SPEED, SPEED – I have a rule, drive the posted speed limit.  I cannot afford to get expensive tickets or lose my license.  In general, if conditions are good I might go up to 5 mph faster than the posted limit.  It’s amazing at how many cars blow by me as if I’m standing still.  As cars become quieter and better built, it’s easy to drive really fast and not ‘feel’ how fast you are going.  One other interesting thing…..MANY OF THE PEOPLE PASSING ME AT ALARMING SPEEDS ARE WOMEN, many more women than in my early days of driving.  Women are becoming more aggressive drivers.
  • TRUCKS PULLING TRAILERS AT ALARMING SPEED – These are mostly guys.  Whether they are hauling boats, toys, livestock or empty trailers, they’ve got those tiny trailer tires screaming.  It’s hysterical to see a MAX 55 mph posted sign for trucks with trailers..…..nope, not happening.
  • FOLLOWING TOO CLOSELY – Didn’t we all learn this in High School?  Give yourself room, create some space.  Some people drive freeway speeds with less than 1 car length in front of them, yikes!
  • DISTRACTED DRIVING – I think I’ve seen it all.  Reading books while driving, drinking while driving, texting while driving, sex while driving and snorting substances while driving….what’s up with that?  Are we in our cars so long that we have to start multitasking at 70 mph?  Simply eating or drinking coffee can be distracting, but the other stuff is ILLEGAL FOR A GOOD REASON. Driving while distracted is one small step away from driving while impaired.  I can’t tell you what the blood alcohol level is in the person driving ahead of me, but I can pretty much predict when they slow down to 30mph and start weaving that they are messing with their phones.

Every one of these things is worse than when I started driving.  It’s no surprise that there are so many accidents.  It’s fine that we are better protected with seatbelts, airbags and crumple zones, but any highway patrol officer will tell you that those things may not protect you so much if you are speeding, following too closely or driving distracted. 

If ONE person reading this blog slows down a little and/or gives themselves more room, I might save a life or two…. Let’s be careful out there!


 [AC1]

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