Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Traffic and Accidents

This post is nothing but a rant. Don't expect much from it.

I work in the Washington D.C./Northern Virginia area. I previously worked in the South Jersey/Philadelphia area. I've spent my time in traffic. I know traffic is not likely to come to an end for me any time soon.

In the D.C. area, a single accident can cause tens of thousands of people one HELL of a commute. It doesn't even have to be a bad accident.

On August 8, 2011, at approximately 2:30 AM, a truck driver hit a construction barrier on I-95 around Lorton, Virginia. That just happened to be the Monday I had to be at Ft. McNair early for a class I was taking that week. I offered my friend a ride in. We slug, that is, park at a commuter lot and get a ride with somebody else. Occasionally one or both of us drives, and picks up slugs. 3 people are required to be in a car to get in the HOV lanes. It's a great symbiotic system.

My friend called me around 0520 that morning to tell me that I-95 was completely shut down. His wife left about 4:30 AM, and was still stuck in traffic. He knew some back roads, so I picked him up and hoped for the best.

We eventually did make it. I dropped him off and headed into D.C. for my class. The ride home was uneventful. My friend's wife ended up stuck on I-95 until about 9:30 AM. That's 4 hours. Because of one stupid truck driver.

Today, again, an accident. In one lane, northbound I-395 around Arlington, VA. The boneheads in the southbound lanes had to stop to look, causing the HOV lanes and the normal southbound lanes of I-395 to back up into DC. I got off work at 4:00 PM and didn't get home until 7:30 PM.

I've come to what will be called a non-compassionate conclusion on car accidents.

When boats have an accident, the Coast Guard always finds somebody at fault. That's because there is something SOMEBODY could have done to prevent the accident. I'm starting to think this needs to be applied to cars.

In the DC area, one freaking idiot driving too fast and slamming into another idiot in front of him who stopped too fast can set tens of thousands of people back HOURS. It can turn a 45 minute commute into 3-4 hours.

I used to tell my kids that accidents happen when you don't pay attention to what you're doing. The same is true for car accidents. Most car accidents are caused by somebody going too fast, not paying attention to other cars on the road, texting, or not maintaining their car. All car accidents are preventable in one way or another.

Anymore, when I see a car accident that sets me back, I think "how rude". I'm sure at least one party is innocent, but in any car accident, there is always one party that SHOULD have done something different to prevent the accident. And that is rude.
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