Saturday, August 22, 2015

All The Drivers Are Below Average

Last week I happened upon Slow Down: Saturday Sermon:

No, this isn’t about ‘lifestyle’ choices, it’s about driving. Some of these themes might be familiar to regular readers:
It happens every day. An innocent person is crossing the street at a corner when suddenly, a car comes barrelling towards her and kills her in an instant. The driver wasn’t drunk or even texting, so we treat these scenarios as “accidents.” We shake our heads and say, “There was no way to prevent this tragedy.”
Well I call bullshit.
Indeed. Let’s continue:
The best way to make our cities and towns safer is to get cars driving slower. I have no problem with people driving 70 mph on the highway–that’s a system intended to move vehicles quickly from one point to another, and pedestrians and bikes are not present in that system. What I do have a problem with is cars driving 40 mph through a neighborhood where children are playing, people are biking home from work or walking to the store. Although we’d be safest without them at all, cars can coexist with bike and pedestrians in an urban environment. But only if the cars are slowed considerably…

I completely accept that some people need cars to get to work, or to visit relatives, or for any number of reasons. But what I don’t accept is that thousands of pedestrian deaths every year are simply unavoidable “accidents.” We can change the way our streets are designed, the way drivers act, and the amount of driving that occurs.That change (and even sacrifice, if you want to call it that) must come on the car side of the equation, and here’s why: Suppose I am walking up the block toward the grocery store (a regular activity for me), when suddenly, for whatever reason, I run into another pedestrian. What happens? Maybe we bruise our elbows, maybe one of us even falls over, but chances are, I simply apologize for running into her, and we get up and continue on our respective ways.

Contrast this scenario with one where I was driving a car to the grocery store. If I “accidently” run into a pedestrian with my car, I will probably break some of his ribs, perhaps leave him with brain damage, and, in all likelihood, kill him. My driving has altered someone else’s life (and my own) forever. It is because I was traveling in a car that my carelessness has resulted in a death. A person alone doesn’t have enough weight or force or speed to do that.
I agree with all of this. Driving is much more dangerous than it should be. Is there such a thing as an Anti Lake Wobegon Effect, where all the drivers are below average? Because, that's the way it seems to me.

I could focus on the ethics of this type of behaviour, how speeding and running stop signs is breaking the law. By the way, statistics tell me that most of these drivers are God fearing Christians. Would Jesus drive like a maniac?

Instead let's focus on money. Do the maniac drivers ever think of the fact that the way they drive is costing them money?

Racing to the stop sign and stomping on your brakes wears out your brake linings faster and uses more gas. Some people actually pass me to do this, because I glide when I notice that I need to stop ahead. Driving like a maniac while going over potholes and bad railroad tracks will dent the steel in your tires and possibly mess up your alignment, your shocks, springs and such. I've had people pass me here too. Dented tires and such make your car ride like hell and cause it to use more fuel. Sometimes when people pass me because I don't want to fuck up my car, they are exceeding the speed limit. Speeding to reach a red light seems insane to me. I suppose I could give more examples. Cars are very expensive, car loans are very expensive, car insurance gets more expensive if you are in an accident, and car repairs are expensive. Isn't that enough incentive to slow down?

Of course the most expensive cost is killing or maiming someone.

Keep calm and slow down. It will save you money and your sanity.

0 comments - Post a comment :

Post a Comment