Slow Down, America
If Punxsutawney Phil can make a prediction, so I can I. I predict that retail
sales on the Internet are going to grow dramatically and soon. Why? Well, not
just because of the web's ease of use and good service. But because Baby Boomers
are realizing that buying online keeps them out of their cars -- and off the
In the past week I have had several close calls on the roads near
my home and still can't figure out how my car and I made it through without a
scratch, or worse.
The Pittsburgh area is known for hilly, windy roads
where you can't really see around the next bend or over the next hill. Knowing
that, and it's pretty hard to miss, you might think drivers would slow down so
they could be ready to react if something is blocking their way -- say a vehicle
trying to make a turn or a herd of cows. (OK, kidding about the
But yesterday I had to stop just after a curve because the car in
front of me had stopped, and the driver behind me didn't think it was in his
best interest to stop, too. I don't know how we avoided a crash. Talk about the
fight or flight response. Yikes.
Or how the other day a woman driving
over the center line on a winding road nearly sideswiped me, forcing me to move
as far right as I could, which was nowhere. (I forgot to mention that the roads
we use every day have no shoulders and more often a skimpy guardrail is the only
thing preventing you from driving off a serious (really) cliff.) Oh, and she was
talking on a cell phone. I don't think she ever saw my car.
example: I have experienced this a few times lately and fear it is becoming a
trend. A driver (often in a large pickup truck) will be trying to pull onto a
four lane highway and instead of waiting till all four lanes are clear, pulls
out into the closest two lanes. He sits there, essentially blocking those lanes,
even though some of us are driving right towards him, forcing us to stop
suddenly to avoid hitting his truck. The driver waits for the opposing traffic
to allow him to enter the highway, and then pulls through.
I'm sure that
you have stories to tell just like these, and realize how scary driving has
become. People talk on cell phones, they text, they eat, they put on makeup --
all while driving way too fast for conditions. The only part that is difficult
to understand is why there aren't MORE accidents, but very tahnkful for
I would like to propose a campaign that stresses slowing down
while driving in general. It used to be that we all felt comfortable driving
five miles over the speed limit. That was enough to keep you from being stopped
for speeding. Now the typical driver drives ten miles over the speed limit most
of the time, and what does that get you? Cars sitting on your trunk, so close
that if you have to react, say on an interstate, the results will not be
I get that we are all in a hurry these days, and that we need to
get from Point A to Point
B as fast as possible!
But we need to get there, not be injured in an accident that could
have been prevented if we all just slow down and drive more responsibly Less
risk, more reward.
Thanks for listening, and Slow Down, America.
By Teresa K. Flatley