Monday, August 23, 2010

Travel Rant

I feel a rant coming on. My rant today is about traveling. On the way back from visiting Jey-hu's mother who took a tumble and got a terrible 'green-stick' fracture to her humerus (upper arm long bone), we saw an accident on the I-5 headed south. (So glad it wasn't on our side; and sorry if anyone was hurt.) However, if the accident was caused by someone with a couple of cats, dogs, children, texting on the phone, yelling at a passenger, or other distraction, I hope you realize you have inconvenienced over 200,000 people.

How did I come up with this figure? Well, some who know me know my math skills were never great, but Jey-hu can do multiplication and division in his head and this is how we arrived at the number.

There are 5280 feet in a mile. About 1800 cars will fit in that space, allowing for the fact that some cars are much shorter and trucks of course are much longer. Figuring on three lanes of traffic for one mile, that's 5,400 motorized vehicles of one size or another. But, the traffic jammed up for about 10 miles, so now we're talking about 54,000 vehicles with an average driver/passenger of 1.5, making 81,000 people fume. But their delay or frustration when they arrive home could affect another 2.5 people, so now we have a total of 200,000 more or less unhappy folks. All because one driver lost control of his or her responsibility.

AAA, in their recent Washington membership magazine, said that 'distractions' cause over 50% of the accidents today. Now in Washington it is illegal to be on the phone or texting, though some people still risk a ticket to do it. But yelling at a passenger (How successful is that?) can increase the risk of making a bad decision by 25% according to some study because the driver is focusing on the issue, not on driving. Traveling with pets which are not contained has caused problems as well, especially with cats. A woman in Texas was arrested and her 15 cats were removed from the vehicle because it was considered a serious hazard. She had to go to trial and the State won. Anyone who has traveled with even one cat knows how little tolerance that breed has for riding in cars. And sometimes traveling with a couple of kids is harder than having 15 cats.

All that being said, at least in the U.S. the roadblocks are quickly dispersed and drivers are on their way in a reasonable time... unlike China... 60 miles and nine days... read the link!

So that is my rant for today... Please drive carefully; you could be affecting thousands!

(PS: the photo is of the bridge over Deception Pass here in Washington state.)

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