Saturday, July 20, 2013

Those interstate blues

It is easy to take basic necessities for granted, and I think I do that a lot when it comes to our access to Interstate 24. For most of my lifetime, it has been there and has been a pipeline to quickly get somewhere if necessary.
The interstate has been especially helpful to me because I have commuted to the Nashville and Murfreesboro area for more than 10 years. Commuting can be a drag, but it would be considerably worse if the interstate was not a mile from my house. I can’t imagine having to take U.S. Highway 41 up there every morning especially when school is in session because traffic is worse then.
Still, driving this distance can be a challenge because coexisting with my fellow drivers can be a chore sometimes. Driving in traffic with some people can be beyond aggravating.
I’ll start with the obvious, and it is those people who treat the highway like it is their personal race track. For better or worse, the legal speed limit on the interstate is 70 miles per hour, but more and more people disobey it. Dealing with these people has to be a huge challenge for our law enforcement personnel. There are people who seem to believe the interstate is nothing more than a demolition derby, and they intend to come out on top.
Almost as bad are the people who drive too slow. At least once or twice each day, I am driving in a pack of cars going the speed limit, and I have to hit the brakes because somebody is only going 50 or 55. When this happens, I usually get stuck behind the slow car while everybody zooms past me.
I am not referring to truckers because many of those trucks are programmed to go below the speed limit. I am writing about those who go way below the speed limit for no apparent reason. Going too slow can be just has hazardous as going too fast sometimes.
Also, there is the issue of motorcycles. I am conflicted on this because I have considerable compassion for motorcycle riders on the interstate. Many car and truck drivers are simply too lazy to watch out for them, and it can lead to dangerous situations. This is not just on the interstate. The road belongs to motorcyclists as much as it does to drivers of cars and trucks. Not understanding this can be deadly.
However, motorcyclists could stand to be more obedient on the interstate, too. I know it can be an overwhelming temptation when it comes to all the power they are riding on, but some cyclists need to go slower. I know punching it while in the rural areas of the interstate is fun, but it is also dangerous.
It is even more dangerous in the urban areas. The scariest encounters I have ever had are when motorcyclists blow by me during rush hour traffic. Because the traffic volume is so heavy, the cyclists zig and zag around other cars and trucks. It sometimes looks like a video game, but the stakes are much higher.
After having written all of this, I have to confess that I am also not the most patient driver. Especially in the afternoon, I have occasionally pushed the outer limits of how fast a Ford Focus can go. Like everybody else, I want to get home and relax, but that is no excuse for exceeding the speed limit.
However, we all have to do a better job when considering others while driving. It is great that we have the interstate close to us, but we should not abuse it.

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