Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow Glorious Snow

On Monday morning when the snowflakes started falling, I decided that it was time to go out and get all of the food I needed to be prepared for the influx of family that are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. The lines for gas were a little long, but not terrible. I checked in with my office in the afternoon and reported on the weather in my area. About an hour later as I was leaving another store, the weather had turned and it seemed to me like this wasn't a snow is pretty much the same as rain situation. It was sticking and the traffic reports in the entire region were discouraging. Entire freeways and highways were blocked from collisions and spin outs. And the roads in my area were quickly deteriorating.

When we moved to our current home up a huge hill (at least a half mile of incline and then some leveling and then a little more incline), we didn't realize that 4 wheel drive was a prerequisite for living here. We were lucky to have such a vehicle and ended up shuttling many of our Christmas guests up our hill so they could spend the day with us. So, when we were in the market for another vehicle last year having 4x4 capabilities was high on our needs list.

Coming home on Monday, I gave the little car in front of me ample space and time to get up our hill. Sadly, he wasn't going to make it and joined about a dozen other cars parked at the bottom of the hill. My rowdy kids were fighting in the back and I threatened them to be quiet. We talked about these other vehicles. And that I needed to concentrate. I couldn't be thinking about them and the backseat drama. I passed that car and made it safely and easily up the hill and home.

Ah, the joys of having the right equipment at the right time! And the joys of being forced to take a snow break and slowing down. I haven't left the house in two days. I kind of want to get out. But then when I see the ill-equipped drivers and vehicles on the news who are sliding into each other I am grateful that I don't have to go out. Why is it that we can't drive in the snow? The Seattle Times has a great article that sums up several of the reasons. I think reasons 1 through 4 are valid. And number 5 is spot on. Our worst problems aren't lousy tires or  traction control, it's the drivers who start sliding and instead of looking at where they want to go, they focus on what not to hit and that big ditch. And where do we end up? Sliding into other cars on an otherwise empty street and going right off the road. If you are in a skid, look where you want to go and get both hands on the wheel and work to get there. Do not give up! You can still positively affect your outcome.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Law Enforcement Rant

This morning started out innocent enough checking my Facebook homepage. One of my old jr. high friends posted about getting a ticket in the mail for making an incomplete stop 2 months prior. Knowing that one city in our area is notorious for red light tickets I made a little joke about it. Come to find out I had the right city. And then a few more posts later another old friend chimes in that he accidentally ran that same red light in that same intersection and is now nervous about getting a ticket in the mail, too.

So this afternoon when I found that I needed to drive in this city, I was pretty nervous. I mean really. I'm NOT a red light runner. I have personally never gotten a ticket in the mail (though some of our driving students have). I should have nothing to worry about. So then why am I paranoid? On the freeway going to this city I saw a trooper on the side of the road. It didn't look like he had a radar, but he must have. I was driving with the flow of traffic with a nice space cushion on 3 sides of me. I checked my speed 63 in a 60. I tapped my brakes. Then I see the trooper's finger motion someone to the side of the road. Is it me? Really? For 3 over? Maybe it wasn't me. I kept driving. So did the car in the next lane. Then the trooper got in his car and actually pulled over the other car. Phew! Is that bad to be thankful it wasn't me? I was really careful after that as I was driving in the infamous traffic ticket city and the afternoon proceeded without incident.

Going home there was a lot of traffic. It would have been hard to speed...except in the carpool lane where I was. I got nervous again when I spotted a County Sheriff pull out around the car in back of me and come speeding up along side me. Again I checked my speed. This time 60 in a 60. And this guy raced by me (no lights or sirens) and weaved in and out of any cars that got in his way.

Is this for real? Our law enforcement should set a good example by also following the law. Certainly this speeding Sheriff writes traffic tickets. Yet how can he throw stones when he lives in a glass house? It reminds me of the time I literally slammed on my brakes and left tire marks on the road to keep from T-boning a city policeman who pulled out in front of me. He was turning left in front of me from a two way stop. I didn't have a stop sign was going 30 miles per hour. And the officer? It didn't phase him. I honestly don't think he even saw me. I called the police chief about that one. Though didn't offer them my services as a driving instructor, I probably should have.

Law enforcement should be pulling over reckless drivers. Not ones that go with the flow of traffic. And if NO ONE is around at a red light and you've been waiting for at least several minutes to go, is it really so bad to just go? It is if there's a red light camera.
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