Thursday, April 7, 2011

Driven Crazy

Driving on the Interstate is a bit counter intuitive because in a world where everyone else is crazy it is dangerous to be the only sane person around, and possibly moving more slowly than the crazies. So on the Interstate I find a pack of cars moving a little faster than the rest, and I drop back a football field or so behind them, and wait for the next pack to arrive. There will be some free running speedsters in there, and there will be some slower vehicles we catch up to, but all on all, once you find a school to swim in, you can just go with the flow.
I once went to Virginia in my truck and I got into the groove several times and watched the miles get eaten away by the hours, and the hours melt away under the road. Four or five hours later I was hundreds of miles away from the last tank of gas, and several Classical CDs deep into thought. But today was a short trip, just fifty miles or so, and I couldn’t really consider this an Interstate trip for me, but it was for some of the other people with me.
There was a guy, and I assume it is a male, but I have met stupid women drivers too, who even though there were three open lanes, passed me and then cut in front of me as if we were in some sort of race. On the Interstate it isn’t as bad to have someone do this but on four laned roads these people will sometimes slow down, or even make a right turn a hundred feet away from where they cut you off. I knew a guy who would get on a four laned road and set up in the fast lane, yet at the same speed as someone in the right hand lane. He would wait until someone faster tried to pass him and then he would speed up, causing them to have to get behind him or drop back. He loved this. He could do it all day long, slowing down and speeding up just to hinder other people’s progress. I hated riding with him, and I think he did it just to piss off his passengers as well as other drivers.
It’s not safe out there. Other people are either more sane than you, or they are less sane than you. That’s a fifty- fifty given. But some people might be a lot more sane than you, and some will be, terribly less sane than you, and if you are screwing around to begin with then you’re putting lives at risk. A few years ago someone called 911 and told them there was someone chasing them on I-75 and no one will ever know the real story. But it looked like car one had stopped in front of car two, forcing car two to stop, and truck zero rammed car two, glanced off, and then slammed into car one, killing three of the people inside, including a seven year old boy. There was a burned spot near Exit Sixteen where the car had blazed out and we resurfaced that part of I-75 this Summer. I watched them mill up that spot. I watched them overlay it. Now, I don’t feel that bump when I pass that spot. Now I don’t see it. But I still can sense the souls of three people, burned to death, on the road, in the name of gross stupidity.
The next time you’re watching a baseball game look at what happens when someone is hit in the head by a ninety miles an hour fastball. They wear helmets, but chances are someone is going to be lying on the dirt, writhing in pain, and it is not uncommon for someone to take a trip in an ambulance to a hospital after a hit in the head, with a baseball, at ninety miles an hour. Now, when you’re tailgating a big truck, and something comes out from under that truck at, let’s say, seventy-five miles an hour, and you’re going seventy-five miles an hour, you’re going to get impacted by something doing one hundred and fifty miles an hour, or somewhere in neighborhood of oh shit this is going to hurt. If it is a baseball sized piece of concrete or asphalt that means it’s going to go from the outside of your car to the inside of your car, and your windshield, designed not to shatter into a billion pieces, will collapse and then come apart into hundreds of pieces. Those pieces will be very sharp, be moving very fast, and they will not improve your looks, or make you smarter. Because you were stupid, and stupid breeds, that means the person behind you is as close to you as you were to the truck, and when you slam on the brakes that person is going to nail you. Oddly, this is likely the only event that will keep people from tailgating.
There is a guy I know who confronts people about the way they drive. If someone cuts him off he will follow them to the next traffic light and get out and say something to them. He followed a woman who had nearly hit him by running a stop sign until she called the cops. I hope his wife has life insurance on him because I cannot think of a better way to get shot.
You car is made of the same type stuff fighter aircraft were once made from back in World War Two. It’s very thin metal and some of it is not even that. They made fighter planes this way for speed, and because the people inside of them, were trained damn well, yet in their own way, expendable, as all people are in war.

If you ever talk to a fireman who has put out a burning car with a seven year old inside of it, perhaps you’ll slow down.

Take Care,

1 comment:

  1. Oh how well I can relate to this!! I was on I75 on Saturday, went from Gainesville to Valdosta for the day and it was not pretty, coming or going.

    I generally drive behind the pack, and let the other pack catch up and pass me. I'm a very non-aggressive driver, had my CD going and kept scanning not just my side but the opposite traffic as well. It was exhausting. Great write Mike...and the part about watching them mill up and repave that really hit home. I am very grateful that none of us have to drive by where Micah was killed over near Jesup. That would be incredibly after day after day.