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

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

RIP, Brother!

June 19, 1969, was the last day my brother, Ricky, rose from his sleep. He packed his gear and hit the road to continue his bicycling trip to Minneapolis. He did not make it.

His loss is one of the main reasons that gridlocksmith cares so deeply about traffic safety, and it is appropriate to remember him, now. Rest in Peace, brother!

On a lighter note, 
we have this story about two British traffic patrol officers,
who may feel lucky to be still alive, after their hand-held radar
device locked on to a NATO fighter aircraft.

Going shopping? Help gridlocksmith promote "Road-Peace" by using this link, each time you shop at The small referral fees add up, and your help is so very appreciated!

"Road-Peace is a step on the road to World Peace!"
There is commonality that advances both traffic safety and World Peace: kindness, forgiveness, patience, compassion, 
gratitude and loving thoughtfulness.
Whether we bicycle, drive, or walk, we can model 
the behavior that true world peace will require of all humans, 
while making traffic safer, and more fun.
This "grass roots" movement needs you 
to model that peace making behavior, 
and to help spread the word.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


 ARE YOU FOR PEACE?  ...Everywhere?

Well, sure, of course.
Are you ready to make peace?  You may have to make some changes in your own life. Are you ready for that?
Uh, whatcha mean?
Here's the thing... True World Peace is not just about nations refusing to fight wars against each other. It means that we humans (as individuals) care about each other...
You mean, even my knuckle-head brother-in-law?
Maybe he's just doing the best he can. We're not all as smart as you, ya know. But let me get to "Road-Peace."

That's right, "Road-Peace." I can't think of a better place to start making peace than on the road, where we all know that our lives are in each others' hands. Can you?
I'm with you. So, if we all act nice to each other on the road, then we have "Road-Peace."
Basically. We need to realize that it will not always be easy to be kind and thoughtful and forgiving...
Right, forgiving... like when someone does something that really gets your goat, you know?
Like yesterday, when this guy cut me off?
What do you mean, cut you off?
Yeah. Like I'm driving along, when suddenly, this guy pulls right in front of me, and I felt pretty whizzed off!
He practically ran you off the road? ..with not even signalling?
Oh, no. There was plenty of room, and I think he did signal.
What happened then?
He got off at the next exit.
I see. I guess I'm more literal than most folks. When I think of being "cut off," I'm really being "Cut Off." If I'm trying to get  into the right lane, so I can take the next exit, and other drivers see my signal and speed up to get in the way... that's what I call, "Cut Off!"
Wow! I see what you mean. Do you forgive them?
Sure, but it can be really challenging. Especially the one that was right behind me, who moved over to the right and sped up... or when a parade of tail-gaters... I mean, It's hard not to believe that they are deliberately being rude. But, they have no way to know if I'm forgiving them or not. Forgiveness of others benefits me, more than it does them.
Right. That way, you don't hold in all those negative feelings... the kind that can make you crazy.

You've got it. They might even be trying to get me angry... as though more angry drivers on the road is a really swell idea...

I guess they think it's a lot of fun to play mind-jerk games, on the road. They seem to crave the attention of another driver, speeding up to catch up and make faces.  Forgiving them gives me the pleasure of disappointing those characters.  Another driver, who cares less than I do about survival, will play that game, and if they both kill themselves... I chalk it up to Darwin.
Right. Survival of the fittest, on the road, means survival of the kindest and wisest and most attentive... those who want "Road-Peace," which is a step on the road to World Peace.

Visit to help spread the message.  (...also on Facebook)


One of the most important elements of true peace is... caring for each other (and ourselves). We can do that, right now, by signing petitions, provided by  Release grieving Mother of hit and run + install a crosswalk

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Friday, March 02, 2012

Md SHA Meets Our Community

On Tuesday evening, February 28, in the cafeteria of Blair HS, folks from the Md SHA set up displays of a proposed detour to lighten the traffic load on the Rte 193 bridge at the I-495 interchange during the planned two year reconstruction project. Since it was a come and go event, attendance varied from minute to minute. I guesstimate that the total attendance was between 200 and 300 people. My number may be short, since I did not arrive until just after 6 o'clock, and the doors were to open at 5:30.

It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Gridlock (Robert Thomson) of The Washington Post. He was generous with his time, and seemed amused by the verse and designs of gridlocksmith.

SHA folks expressed appreciation for the input given by members of the affected communities. Gridlocksmith shared some chocolate kisses at the end of the evening, to assure that they left with a good taste in their mouths.

ISCA President, Jill Ortman-Fouse, makes the acquaintance 
of Robert Thomson (AKA, Dr. Gridlock, of The Washington Post).

Md. Delegate Tom Hucker and Dr Gridlock discuss the situation.

Maps, photos and explanations filled the information tables.

As the evening drew to a close, the late hangers-on included, 
(L-R) Robert Thomson(Dr. Gridlock), Benjamin Hokuf and two coleagues 
at SHA, Del. Tom Hucker and Pete Lafen.

Please, feel free to make comments, below, 
to add information, make corrections, etc.

Gridlocksmith is now working on launching a new peace movement: 
 All sorts of volunteers are needed.
Now on Facebook at

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Thursday, February 09, 2012


Next week is "Random Acts of Kindness Week." Let's get an early start. In fact, why not be kind every day, every week? everyone?

One of the greatest kindnesses that we can show each other is to think well about our safety. From that thinking, we are likely to become more patient, thoughtful, and forgiving. (Who among us has never done an "oopsy!" from time to time?)

Kindness in traffic can be challenging, especially when others do stupid and dangerous things. During 30 years of "driving for a living," I have seen more than a few ragers running rampant on the road. Not being authorized to pull them over and lecture them, it made no sense to chase after them, but it left me feeling angry that these clowns were endangering us all. That is what makes Road Rage" so dangerous; anger spreads like a virus, making more and more drivers impatient, less kind and thoughtful...

So, what is a rational driver to do? First, we have to remember that the only attitudes and behaviors we can change... are our own. Actually, that may be enough. The most powerful thing that we can do to influence the behavior of others is to set a good example. Many manic drivers are looking for someone to race them, or, simply take joy in irritating others. If we don't rise to the bait, it spoils their game. Each time we see rage, but stay calm, we win. Here is a rhyme I use to help keep cool:

"Road Rage Remedy"

We know a cheery fellow
Who likes the traffic mellow,
But, when drivers intrude,
With attitudes, rude,
He sometimes used to bellow!

He soon saw that was folly.
So, to make himself quite jolly,
He said, "Yes-sir-ee, Bob,
They're doing a fine job;
They keep me alert, by golly!"

When traffic has you in a bind,
And there's no short cut you can find,
To improve the flow,
Here's all you need know:
It's much better, when you are kind.

One of the most unkind things one can do in traffic is to be so disrespectful of others, that one becomes distracted by cell phone use and/or texting while driving! This can so easily lead to terrible consequences(video). I believe this sensible message should be viewed by every person who uses texting devices. Here is another blog post, dedicated to this issue. It includes more links and new lyrics (Dexter Texter) to an old tune (Davy Crockett).

When kindness is shared in traffic, whether we walk, cycle, or drive, we become part of the solution. We all can feel more relaxed, think more clearly, be safer, endure less stress and have healthier hearts.  

What a deal!

More articles, poems, photos and humor are at
Volunteers are needed to help kick off the new "Road-Peace Movement."

Remember the advice of Gandhi...
You must be the
you wish to see in
(Be safe out there.)

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Friday, January 13, 2012

What Brings Good Luck?

(It brings good luck.)

[...but first, this word from... well, not exactly a sponsor, but...
gridlocksmith has become an Amazon Associate.
This means that if you use the link on this page
to do your Amazon shopping,
you will help support the work of gridlocksmith,
promoting the end of road rage
and the creation of Road-Peace - a step on the road to World Peace.]

1-13-12 FRIDAY 13TH!!

(it brings good luck)

At least, that's what I read in an article lately... (Where did I put that thing?) Maybe it will pop up in a search... Hmmm...
"happiness brings good luck" in the search field, aaaannnnd...
O-Kay.. I will obviously not find it by deadline, so, here is at least one source of Luck Resources...   -which is loaded with quips and quotes and questionable comments, completely compiled to settle the riled... Allow this exemplary example to entertain your attention:

Being generous, just helping one’s relatives and being blameless in one’s actions; this is the best good luck. ~ Buddha

Exactly! Kindness completes the karmic contraption. Or something like that. Hey, what do you want from me? It's freaking Friday the thirteenth, for Pete's sake! 

OK, I'm better, now. Friday is still Friday. It could be a Monday!  (the 13th!) Oh yes. That could be really bad... why, I remember, as a youth, going fishing on a Monday the 13th... not only was I having no good luck with the fishing, but, while my back was turned, I got a bite that took my pole out to the middle of the river!  Later, after losing still more of my tackle, I wandered down river to a spot where the water gently flowed over a small spillway. I decided to cross. After just a few steps, my foot encountered a mysterious clump. Curious, I investigated, and found that the clump was the business end of a broom. Lifting the broom out of the water, I saw a wire attached to the top of the handle... and more wire.. a wire cage... a cage with a fish inside! But this was no carp or catfish, this was a Walleyed Pike, about two feet long!

Happily, I took home my prize, 

  where a friend showed me how to fillet.
Happy, the boy, who learned 
  that bad luck need not last all day.
It is a special week-end. Monday will be a day off for lots of folks, in celebration of our good fortune to have had a man like Martin Luther King, Jr. walk among us, leading the important struggle for civil rights. It should be a day for reflection on what our common humanity has in store. Will we learn how to end war? Will war put an end to us?

There is something that we can all do, anytime we are involved in traffic, to promote progress toward World Peace... Be kind and thoughtful of others. By setting the safe and courteous example, we begin the process of creating "Road-Peace" as a step toward World Peace.

Just might say,
Peaceful, kind driving
And safe arriving
Makes my day!

Have a happy and safe week-end!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


"Will blog 4 food."

As the great poet/philosopher/song writer/singer, Arlo Guthrie said, "Ya gotta sing loud if ya wanna end war and stuff."  But, all the songs have been sung... millions - no, make that guzzillions of times, and we still have "war and stuff."

Perhaps we expect too much of a song. Maybe, a more modest goal could be served with a song. How about texting while driving? Could a song help people make better decisions in that regard? Let's give it a go...

Remember the tune about Davy Crockett? He was the frontiersman of great renown who is said to have said, "Be sure you're right, then, go ahead." You can hear the late Fess Parker (the actor who played Davy) sing the tune, here.  Or, you can see and hear the words, along with some clips from the Disney production, here.

What could be more fitting than to use his tune to convince people to make sure they do the right thing and put away texting while behind the wheel?

When and if permission can be obtained from Disney, you may hear the tune with new lyrics in radio spots. Until then, there should be no reason not to sing it yourself, and teach it to others. Especially if you teach, or run a driving school!

Without further ado, here are the new lyrics. Teach the children well.


Born to be distracted as you can see.
Talked up a storm when he was only three.
Raised on the boob tube, watchin'  comedy.
Made up his mind to live dangerously.

Dexter, Dexter Texter, texted his life away!

Texting while bicycling made friends perplexed
Behind the wheel, he was surely hexed
Because he decided he had to text...
The devil saw this, and said, "You're next!"

Dexter, Dexter Texter, texted his life away!

We've come to the end of our sad, sad song.
Humans ain't built like old King Kong.
Texting is distracting, and that's just wrong.
Life is short, but, forever is long.

Dexter, Dexter Texter, texted his life away!

(suggest alterations in comments, below...)

YouTube has some vids that may be helpful in the spreading of distracted driving awareness...
like this one, with Dr Phil, and the debut of Dexter the Dead Texter and this message from Dexter the Dead Texter. (OK, just one more, with a Sarah McLachlan song.)   This, just in... as of Jan. 25, 2012, I am following: Check it out - thumb bands as reminders!

Did you say, "There oughta be a bumper sticker?" 
We got yer bumper stickers...

BadAttitude-SATAN bumpersticker
BadAttitude-SATAN by gridlocksmith

Be careful out there, and drive kindly.
Remember, also, Road-Peace is a step toward WorldPeace.

   "Spare Change?"

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Friday, November 18, 2011

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

Just as "Road-Peace" is nearing launch, the 
arrives, this Sunday, November 20, 2011. 
"...observed every third Sunday in November each year. This will be a major advocacy day for road traffic injury prevention and WHO and the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration encourage governments and NGOs around the world to commemorate this day."
"The Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, which began in May this year, has the goal of saving five million lives. A global plan for the decade provides a framework for governments, civil society and the private sector to work together to improve road management; upgrade the safety of roads and vehicles, and educate drivers, 
passengers and pedestrians on safe behaviour."

I will not feel that my brother died in vain, 
if we become more aware of the need 
for patience, forgiveness, understanding and kindness 
for one another on the road. 
The qualities needed to make "Road-Peace" possible, 
are the same that will make World Peace possible. 

Please, visit 
and help spread the important message that 

The folks wise and gentle enough to create World Peace, 
will not treat each other as we do, on the road, today. 
If we hope to become those people, 
we need to start making changes... now.

Remember the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Drive with care... everywhere.

A BELT for the ROAD bumpersticker
A BELT for the ROAD by gridlocksmith
Another sensible bumper sticker
supporting the work of gridlocksmith

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Signs of the Times?

Millions of dollars have been spent on signs, in the US. 
If the signs are disregarded, the money is not well spent.

One of the cardinal rules for gridlock prevention is: "If you can't get out, don't go in" (the intersection). So, what sort of signs do we see in D.C. to admonish drivers not to block intersections? 


...Really? How many drivers, surrounded by big boxes that we know as buildings, are going to equate "BOX" with intersection?  Can't we do better than that?

How about signs that simply say:

|            |
--------  KEEP  --------
-------- CLEAR --------
 |            | 

(Sorry, my Appleworks6 has gone on strike, 
refusing to allow me to put up a decent graphic image. Any volunteers?)
...enclosed in lines at right angles, forming a diagram of a crossing should complete an image that leaves no doubt. The sign will also be a positive , rather than negative, motivator.

There is a theory that holds that the human mind likes positive thoughts and motivations, and sometimes eliminates the negativity, while  keeping the positive. Might this account for drivers, seeing a sign that begins with "Do not," doing the opposite of what the sign says?

Another example...

 Driveways and minor streets, near busy intersections are often blocked by thoughtless drivers, in spite of easily understandable signs.

It is a frustrating way to start your journey, when you can't even enter the flow of traffic. At this particular location (a parking lot for a medical building), it is especially difficult to make a left turn upon exiting, since one is likely to be blocked by all three lanes of traffic.

Sometimes, one wonders 
if these drivers pay attention to signs at all. 
How about this one?

You may be fallen-crested
As your patience is tested
By those of dull wit.
But, don't have a fit.
Just laugh, like you've been jested.

You're a mover and shaker;
Not a slacker or faker.
The example you set
Becomes the world you get.
You're a Road-Peace maker.

Drive kindly!