The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A sobering event

Last week, as Faye and I were driving home from our weekly Wednesday dinner with some friends, we found ourselves being sent on a detour by the police. There had been a fatal accident on US 27 while we had been laughing and joking with those friends after finishing our meals.

 [Peggy Sue] Roaf, 52, was traveling north in the outside [left] lane of the highway when the Envoy, traveling south, jumped the median, crashing directly into Roaf's Ford Focus, riding up onto the hood.

The SUV's driver, 31-year-old Nicholas Steven Fox of Fort Lauderdale, was reported to be under the influence at the time, according to Sebring Police. An investigation is under way. Charges are pending, but no arrest has yet been made.

I have written before about the traffic on US 27 as it goes through our little city and how frustrating that traffic can be. I have written before how slow traffic in all lanes can induce drivers to weave across lanes in an effort to avoid getting stuck at traffic lights and to "make time" through the area.

Please try to understand, I am not defending the drunken driver who jumped the median when his SUV went out of control. There is no defense for him. None at all. He will recover from his injuries enough to be arrested and he will be convicted and go to prison and his life ruined... as it should be. But it won't undo the accident, it won't bring Ms Roaf back to life. It won't take away the pain of her friends and family, but it will be "justice" as we call it.

But things do not happen in a vacuum, as they say. In order for something like this to happen seemingly unimportant things have to fall into place. Accidents are "set up" by events happening prior to it.

The slow traffic on the highway can be frustrating, aggravating, infuriating. Add in a brain muddled by alcohol and you get poor decision making coupled with terrible reaction times. And this, I believe, is what led to a woman's unnecessary death and severe injuries to several others.

When we drive, we are encased in a little metal "bubble"; our world becomes the environment within our cars. We are detached from the people in the cars around us. We should remember that as we drive along. We don't know if the other drivers are sober or drunk, if they've had a bad day or a good one, if they are angry or happy. We forget that our driving, our existence on the road, can be viewed many different ways by other drivers.

We can cause, or increase, the irritation of an already angry driver who's in a hurry. We can confuse more a driver who is already lost or disoriented. We can become the focus of someone's antipathy merely by being in front of them. All because we are moving a bit slower than they want to be moving. So they swerve around us, flitting between cars, intent on getting from whatever "point A" they had come from to the "point B" they are in a hurry to get to. They creep up close, tailgating, jumping to the right or left, squeezing between cars.

Maybe the passengers in their cars are yelling at them to slow down, maybe not, maybe they are encouraging them to get around and through the traffic. Who knows? But a too hard swerve and poor reaction time (or an alcohol or drug induced over-reaction) results in a vehicle out of control, bouncing across a median and into oncoming traffic and tragedy explodes in micro-seconds.

You have every right to drive a little slow but you also have an obligation not to impede traffic. You should not contribute to events that can lead to tragedy. You never know what's in the mind of that driver in that car behind you. Look at the picture above and keep that in mind. 

Keep right, maintain speed, try to avoid blocking traffic behind you, don't contribute in any way to that unknown driver's rationale for stupidity.

And don't even have "just one or two" and get behind the wheel!


Pearl said...

Hear, hear, Douglas.  I was in Sarasota FL not long ago and almost killed by an aggressive driver, someone who, frustrated by a herd of people in cars, all easily over 70, doing 10 under the speedlimit.  Given the ability to pass them, he did so, doing easy 30 over the limit, honking and gesturing -- and moving into my lane.

Remembering that there are people in these vehicles -- and that they are not all out to inconvenience you, clearly the most important person on the road! -- is paramount.


Torggil said...

Keep right over there.  Kepp left over here.  also remember where you are if you happen to flit between the opposites.

Well said, Mate!

Douglas4517 said...

 Ah yes, the British influence. Anyone ever explain why those chose the left over the right?