A lot of new traffic light cameras are going into service in Orlando soon. It’s not a good thing; not because they won’t provide millions in REVENUE,…they will, but the reason should be for safety….red light running is rife in the City Beautiful. Every morning one can hear of the accidents at all the usual places, primarily because those idiots are trying to stretch the spectrum from yellow to just-before–RED ! With opposing left-turn traffic, that’s not a great idea!
I grew up in Boston which is known for erratic and crazy driving. There is a major difference between those in the Northeast and those in Orlando. The Orlando drivers are also reckless, self-centered, speed-oriented and unwilling to give an inch, however they lack talent and driving skills. They are just BAD drivers.
In a world of high gas prices and lots of hyperbole about being green, one would think that jack-rabbit starts and stops,and speeding into red lights would become less frequent…given that much fuel is wasted with those practices. Doesn’t matter here! Since I got my license to drive in 1949 I have always tried to save gas by letting up on the gas pedal when sighting a distant red light, or yellow-turning-red. Cruising up to the car ahead with just a modicum of forward momentum can save a tablespoon of petrol, and even extend the life of the drive train of any vehicle. It simply won’t work in Orlando. The reason is ridiculously simple…the drivers here don’t look ahead to the condition of the lights ahead. And if they detect slowing or stopped cars upstream, they jockey to be in the shortest lane….no matter which one has the fewest cars…even to gain ONE DAMN SPACE! It is stupid and maddening! I am in the right-hand lane, generally, where I belong…watching all the action up ahead, and sensing the changing colors of the traffic lights and the relative speed and location of all the vehicles around me. As a light goes to yellow and red upstream, I slow to a cruise, so as to accelerate on the green. BUT WHOOPS…the guy speeding in sees the empty space ahead of me and takes immediate claim to gain a space. I end up braking for this freak of nature (not so freakish in this city, unfortunately), and my gas bill goes up commensurately.
One could play the game, as many here do, of speeding up slightly to prevent this hopscotching activity, and disallowing the creep his favored lane. But that is one more cause for the frayed nerves and some fender-benders.
And human nature (in-human?) dictates that if you need to change lanes or merge into traffic, the oncoming freak will speed-up to disabuse your notion. If you SUCCEED in getting into the traffic ahead of him or her, that jerk will STREAK AROUND YOU, and glowering as if you ruined the day, will pull into your lane just ahead of you to prove, once-and -for-all, that HE REIGNS SUPREME on these friggin’ roads!
So why aren’t these cameras a good thing… because they are NOT traffic officers, and cannot testify in court that you broke the law. You MAY have broken the law…but maybe you didn’t!
I was ticketed in Delaware last year when my RV ticked-off a camera at an intersection on US 13. The resulting color pictures clearly showed my wheels over the line on RED. What was not so clear was the truck approaching and entering the intersection from the right with a load of PortaPotties, and I had no idea if he was going to proceed straight into the intersection, or turn right…but he wasn’t stopping! Instead of proceeding easily and safely through the yellow light, I was forced to BRAKE through the space, and over the line after RED. The official who reviewed the tape agreed with me that a shade of grey existed, and that I could successfully challenge the ruling. BUT….. I’d have to go 1,000 miles to Delaware for the ensuing court date…or pay $125. to avoid doing so. This is wrong. No camera can determine shades of grey; safety officers can do that. I oppose those new cameras on the pretext that there is no actual witness to what happens, and Big Brother should find other sources of revenue. In Orlando, where the State Police hide and wait for the slightest infractions to fatten the coffers (this is a proven published fact), more so than in most other areas, they’ll work less hard, as the friendly lenses vicariously capture the action. Police would be the cause of slower driving and better driving in accordance with the existing traffic laws if the were MORE VISIBLE, moving WITH the flow, and not ALWAYS in the LEFT LANE, exceeding the limit as if they were above the law.
Cameras don’t show this behavior, but you and I know it happens. Who writes those tickets?
For the past three years I have travelled to New Hampshire to visit with my daughter in Hillsboro. Before that, I visited her in the upper valley of the Connecticut River. It is always a joy to arrive in New Hampshire because the highways are so good! Yesterday I was on Route 9/202 heading toward Concord to attend the Obama acceptance-speech party. There has been construction on that stretch of road for weeks, but as they carry out the paving process, you can see what a superior job this state does to insure a smooth driving surface.
In Massachusetts for instance, the “bed” of the road (that which underlies all the asphalt above) is only HALF the thickness of the Granite State’s. And as is evident today, as you travel the side of the road awaiting the new covering, the pavement is more than a skim-coat that other states try to convince their motorists will suffice. The obvious result is a level or well-banked roadway that lasts through many winters without the typical frost-heaves encountered elsewhere. This road is THICK!
Okay, there are plenty of smaller country roads here that are not in such pristine condition. There is some uneven pavement and stretches of not-well-repaired road. But compare the whole to the BEST of New Jersey and New York…..Yipes! I swear an oath every time i travel across their thoroughfares-masquerading-as- highways, that I will forever avoid subjecting my suspension system to them in the future. But look at a map! It’s not easy getting out of New England going south, without bumping into this barrier of potential break-downs. And cheap gas lives in New Jersey!
With fuel in the stratosphere, I really don’t want to go too far afield of a straight line. Then there are the *&%Z#! tolls! I currently travel in a 21 foot Class C motorhome. There are station wagons longer, and Hummers taller and heavier than some RVs. But when I pull up to the tollbooth at the east end of the Tappan Zee Bridge, the collector proclaims“TWELVE TWENTY-FIVE!” I then look around to select the portion of this bumpy ride I just bought.
The cities of southern New Hampshire cannot claim the distinction I have coveyed upon the state’s roads in general. Salem, that northern suburb of Metheun, MA has the worst stretch of road in the northeast….they’re calling it Route 28. I’m calling it the Oregon Trail without the wagons or the scenery. Go slow, friends; your springs, shocks and tires will thank you!