July 1, 2020
I have mentioned that Melissa drives the Interstate an hour and twenty minutes each way to get to work. She goes in and leaves an hour before the rushes to try and miss the worst of the crush. She still comes home several times a week and tells me stories about the traffic and the crazy drivers on the road. Several days ago, she told me of the driver who decided it would be a good idea to use bungee cords to attach two kayaks to the top of his small sedan. The kayaks were already bouncing as he blew around her and sped for the exit. Melissa backed off expecting the worst. Sure enough, he took the exit too fast just as the wind caught and propelled both boats off his roof. Luckily, they blew toward the side of the road rather than into traffic.
Having lived in the Bay Area for 15 years I can relate to what she says. There is always someone who thinks you are in their way and is willing to drive recklessly to get around. This attitude has taught me to back off when someone thinks they need to challenge me on the road. I recall talking to a friend who said earlier in the day he had been at the entrance to the bridge and a truck carrying flammable fuel hit the center divider head on. The resulting fireball scorched the paint on his car. My friend and the driver somehow survived.
I am writing this because I went to work in Mountainburg yesterday traveling the same highway Melissa travels daily. On my way home I got caught behind two trucks with one trying to pass. I knew it would take him a while to get up to speed on the mountain but backed off anyway. Another driver sped up and cut in front of the passing semi, causing him to slow. Then a man pulling a trailer decided to do the same thing. When he finally got up to speed the trucks had closed distance and there was not enough room to make it through. Rather than backing off, the trailer driver stayed put, making it impossible for the semi to pull out of the passing lane. We got down to 45 in the 70 mile per hour zone before a gap opened and the trailer cut on through.
THOUGHTS: I am amazed by the trash found along the side of the road. I have seen coolers and mattresses and today saw a sofa crumpled in the ditch. I am never sure whether these they are lost or left. I have also seen tires fly off cars and cut across my path on two different occasions. I cannot image how vigilant you would need to be to drive a semi. We have an ad on TV with a lawyer who boasts about being able to go after the drivers of these vehicles. From what I saw yesterday, and Melissa sees daily, it is rarely the semi driver’s lack of attention. We all need to drive defensively. If you can, work to keep the conversation going.