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

Saturday, August 15, 2009


By now, most everyone has heard of the story about the Maryland judge who let the air out of someone's tire. (Talk about a heavy penalty for parking in the wrong spot!) He felt that leaving a note would not be effective.

My question: What if the other driver came back just then, and would have moved out of the space, making it available for hizzonner? A flat tire, then, would hardly be in the judge's best interest.

Reminds one of the story from the French Revolution... bread was in short supply. Mob response: burn down the bakery!

Could this be the same judge who, years ago, found me guilty after the officer explained that the ticket was written in error? If so, an errhead, he must truly be.


When angry, count ten before you speak;
if very angry, a hundred.
- Thomas Jefferson

Do we ever speak louder than our actions?

"Will traffic safety advocate for food."

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Thursday, August 13, 2009


...but, on a cell phone? Nooo-noo-no!

During a recent visit to The Partnership for Safe Driving, this article, "The Partnership for Safe Driving Thanks and Stands with the National Safety Council" caught my eye. The issue in question was... distracted driving and cell phones. Not surprisingly, they see a connection that we should all be aware of in the National Safety Council article, "Hands-Free Phones No Safer Than Handheld Phones."

The reason there is little difference in the amount of distraction is simple. We don't think with our hands.

"But.. how is that any different from talking with passengers?" one might ask.

Most aware passengers will consider traffic conditions before asking the driver to ponder a perplexing query. Their own safety is in the balance of your attention. Besides, no passenger wants to hear, "You're really distracting me from driving safely. Would you like to get out at the next bus stop?"

On the other hand, the person on the other end of the phone call is totally unaware of where you are, traffic-wise, and can provide distracting comments at the very worst moments.


After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box. - Italian Proverb

But, if your playing chess through the mail,
or on the phone, after the pieces are put away,
the fate of one set is separate from the other.

"Will traffic safety advocate for food."

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Saturday, August 08, 2009


Yes, friends, there really is a place where people can learn "HOW TO DRIVE LIKE A MORON." I fondly recalled this as an AOL Hometown site. (AOL shut that down, 11-06-08)

While tidying up the mess that is my office, I ran across a note about it. Through the miracle we know as "Google," it has been found. Much to my glee.

Of course, if you have ambitions leaning toward long life, you are likely to recognize it as a tutorial on how not to drive. (duh!)

Once again, I advise all who wish not to become angry when jerky drivers appear, (anger is only a "d" away from danger) remember this short refrain:

There another one goes.
But, I need not be morose.
Although he's a jerk,
He's doing great work,
At keeping me on my toes!

This is based on an earlier, more wordy work:

"Road Rage Remedy"

The gridlocksmith is a 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, "Yessiree, Bob,
They're doing such a fine job,
They keep me alert, by golly!"

Don't rage in vain;
Engage your brain.


The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook. - William James

Have you ever seen a guy by the road holding a cardboard sign,
"Will traffic safety advocate for food?"

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Thursday, August 06, 2009


as reported by Bo Guss

If there was ever a time to be buckled up...

A beautiful Spring day, with hardly a hint of a cloud in the sky and I was loving it. Heading for downtown D.C. on Massachussetts Avenue (to make a pick-up for the courier company for which I was an independent contractor), I had crossed Wisconsin Avenue and was about to enter an unmarked danger zone.

Perhaps traffic on the other side of the street had at least a clue that workers were down in the sewer, pumping up some sort of grunge. It was flowing down their side, filling and hiding potholes still waiting to be patched up since the previous winter.

After passing the home of the Vice President on Observatory Circle, I could see the British Embassy ahead. Suddenly, I saw nothing. Well, nothing on the other side of the windshield, that is. A car on the other side had hit a pothole full of muck, and I was the recipient who could not duck.

Having just started to change lanes to my right, my first thought was that I was about to be in the midst of a multi-car pile-up. I am happy to report that this did not happen. However, my journey did come to a very abrupt adjournment. As the Brits would say, "smashing!"

It was a lamp post that stood, unharmed by my pathetic wreck of a Mazda GLC. I, too, was unharmed, as I was glad to report to the people who had appeared to check my condition. I had, as always, been wearing the seat belt. Should I call it, "Life Belt?"

I now tell this story with one last caveat, "When you need it, you won't have time to put it on!"

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Sunday, August 02, 2009


What is the most dangerous thing a driver can do in traffic?


No brainer! Definitely makes the Top Ten List.

What other driver actions would you nominate for the list?

Speeding up to pass in the right hand lane at the point where other traffic is attempting to merge? (Ooo, good one.)

How about those who are exiting the expressway onto the second ramp of the cloverleaf, (you know, the tight curve?) and, crossing paths with entering traffic, speeds up to get in front of said traffic, then having to slow down in front of said traffic, while said traffic is attempting to accelerate to expressway speed. Did you follow all that? I'm getting dizzy, myself.)

Then, there's the tailgater, in such a hurry to pass... after doing so, pulls directly in front of you and decides that you should be a tailgater, too, and slams on the brakes so hard that the tires are belching smoke! (Thankfully, I've only encountered one who was that stupid.)

I could go on and on, but, if I let myself do that, I'll be up all night. Why not let you do it?

If you want to start/join a discussion on this, please jump in. The grassroots traffic safety think tank welcomes caring, thoughtful, peace-on-the-road-loving, creative and considerate thinkers like yourself. (You are all that, aren't you?)


Take the attitude of a student. Never be too big to ask questions.
Never know too much to learn something new.
- Og Mandino, 1923-1996, American Motivational Author, Speaker

Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.
- Steven Wright, American Actor/Writer/Stand-up Comedian

Have you ever seen a guy by the road holding a cardboard sign,
"Will traffic safety advocate for food?" hmmm...

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Saturday, August 01, 2009


You don't have to start a website in remembrance of a lost loved one to make a difference in traffic safety, but, some folks do it... and do it well. They even have a store to help support the cause.

There is also a "Useful Contact" page that includes phone numbers and websites for child safety seat makers and auto makers from Acura to Volvo and Jaguar to Kia to Maybach.

These fine people are an example of "grassroots traffic safety activists." Not content to merely advocate ideas, procedures and behaviors, they have actually made information available that
has saved lives, set up a foundation that helps people in financial need to obtain safety seats, and Kyle's Kindness Project.

My hat is off to them, with most sincere condolences on the loss of their treasured son.


People become really quite remarkable
when they start thinking that they can do things.
When they believe in themselves
they have the first secret of success.
- Norman Vincent Peale 1898-1993,
American Christian Reformed Pastor, Speaker, Author

Get action. Seize the moment.
Man was never intended to become an oyster.
- Theodore Roosevelt, 1858-1919, 26th President of the United States

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