Monday, August 11, 2008

Take Your Time And Live To Tell Your Tales

I debated whether or not to write a post about this weekend's events, as they are not directly related to writing and/or getting published. However, the information below applies to the general populace (including writers!) and it affected me profoundly, so I decided to go for it.

This weekend, on our way to Ocean City, MD, my companions and I got stuck in terrible traffic two miles before the Bay Bridge. The picture above shows the source of the traffic back-up: an 18 wheeler had actually plunged off the bridge and into the water.

No one knows yet exactly what caused the tragic accident (or if they do, they aren't releasing the information). But it did start me thinking about driving in general. Lately I've been trying to improve my gas mileage by driving more slowly and using a few hypermiling techniques, and it's made the general aggression of drivers painfully apparent. Take, for example, the behavior of those who routinely drive on MD Rt. 695. The posted speed limit for this road is 55 mph. That's the speed LIMIT; and not the 'lower limit,' either, but instead the absolute fastest you should ever go on that road. And yet reducing my speed to 55 meant that cars continually blasted past on either side of me at 10, 20, 30 or more mph above the speed limit.

I know that people don't have time to waste on driving, that they have to get places quickly, that they drive the same roads day after day and just get tired of it all. But because of bad practices like speeding and aggressive driving, one man lost his life yesterday, two people were hospitalized, and tens of thousands of people stuck in traffic for 4+ hours possibly missed weddings, funerals, births, 100th birthday parties, etc. In general, everyone involved basically had a really bad day.

All I ask is that next time you get in your car, take a moment to think about what you're doing so you can make sure that you're around to write stories and tell tales for years and years to come.
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