THE GRIDLOCKSMITH

THE GRIDLOCKSMITH, traffic safety activist, "Roads Scholar," former "Road Warrior" who lost a brother (aged,15) on the road in 1969, has compiled many observations and ideas about traffic safety after 3 decades of driving for a living. "Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution? Set a safe example in traffic." You, too, can be a gridlocksmith. "Road-Peace is a step toward World Peace." - Earl Shoop

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Location: Silver Spring, MARYLAND, United States

Looking for what's logical, efficient, kind and fun... Traffic safety became a personal issue when my youngest brother died on the highway. I observed traffic unsafety while driving for a living(30yrs). Spread the word about "Road-Peace" as a step on the road to World Peace. Since those wise and gentle enough to create World Peace will not treat each other as we now do, in traffic, the road is a good place to focus our efforts. see www.road-peace.com www.gridlocksmith.com

Thursday, May 11, 2006

JUST LIKE NATURE, TRAFFIC ABHORS A VACUUM

It seems that some people don't understand that if there is a large area of open roadway, drivers are going to be sucked into it as surely as if there had been a vacuum.

Someone wrote in the "Driving Me Crazy" feature of the "Bumper to Bumper" column (3/29/06) in our local GAZETTE, that drivers see an upcoming lane closure and "wait until the last second to get out of that lane, thus causing a line of cars in the adjacent lane to screech to a halt." Those drivers are vilified by the writer as self-centered and aggressive, and bemoans "...having been cut off several times..."

"Cut off?" That is a misnomer as people most commonly use the term. But, I have already clarified that (I hope) in a previous post. The issue I wish to address, here, is the question of how we, the driving public, should handle lane closures without "screeching." (either vocally, or tire-wise)

Should we surmise that the writer would have us all, immediately upon seeing our lane closed ahead, abandon our totally empty lane to get into a bumper to bumper line-up? Hmm? OK. Let's say that we do just that. How long before that line extends all the way back over a hill or around a curve? Here comes Joe Schmoe (perhaps, our writer?) who is suddenly aware that the lane is closed ahead, but the next lane is already a creeping B2B line. Hoo-boy! What to do? Following the writer's logic, Joe had best put the car in reverse, and find the end of that line! Or, maybe Joe is a rude and aggressive driver and continues to drive forward. Joe, of course, puts on signals and looks for someone to let him in. If Joe succeeds in getting into the other lane and is passed by other drivers (who could not bring themselves to abandon that lovely empty pavement) will he become resentful of them? Will he want to let them in? Will he crowd the bumper before him to become part of a solid wall of resentment and rage against those rude drivers who didn't get in back of the line?

This is insanity! We are certainly not going to agree to all get in the back of that line. It would be crazy and dangerous to even try.

So, what should we do?

Remember when banks had seperate lines to each teller? We were always faced with trying to figure out which line would get us to a teller quickest. When we guessed wrong, we felt so exasperated and demoralized. But if we guessed right, we waltzed out of there like the world was our oyster. (Perhaps, I exaggerate a teeny bit.) Then, something changed. The banks set up a single line! Wow, what a long line, we thought. But, we got used to it, and appreciated how quickly we got our business done on a first-come-first-served basis that was fair to all.

I propose that we use the bank line plan in reverse. Fully utilize the road by staying in lane and politely allow an alternate merge at the point of closure. (Traffic czars, please note: signs with the message, "MAINTAIN LANES - ALTERNATE MERGE AHEAD" or something similar would be a great help. We do need to know what is expected of us if we are to get on the same page.)

No more being faced with one empty lane vs a crawling line. No more resenting other drivers for zooming by. No more excuse for hostility!

As always, your thoughts are eagerly welcomed.

Did you see the "DANGER" Acrostic Challenge? It is at this previous post.

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I am a huge fan of The Darwin Awards because they make me laugh and learn that there are some things you really should not try at home -- or anywhere else.
To see the opening post of my humble blog,
click here.
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Have you ever seen a guy by the road holding a cardboard sign,
"Will traffic safety advocate for food?" hmmm...

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