Racing To Death

Have you ever seen a car accident? I mean, really seen one right in front of your eyes. I don't mean in a Michael Bay movie or on the evening news, but just watched it all unfold in front of you? The screeching metal, the squealing tires ... It amazes me that people insist on speeding like they do. In reality, if we all didn't think we were so invincible, we'd slow down a few miles an hour, stop weaving in and out of lanes, and just leave five minutes earlier so we can get to work on time. It's not that unreasonable of an idea. I don't think the stress of going over the speed limit, having to decide who to pass and in what lane to do it, watching out for police officers waiting to pull us over, is making any of us better drivers.

It's making us less safe. It's making us angry. Most of the time, it's not even doing us any good. The rough difference in my daily drive to work (thirty-five miles) between seventy miles per hour and seventy-five miles per hour is less than four minutes. An incredibly negligible difference when you consider the actual amount of damage that extra five miles per hour could cause on roads not intended for those speeds with drivers not always traveling at those speeds.

We do not need to speed. Should I say that again with Wordpress' wonderful emphasis tags? We do not need to speed. It is not a Constitutional right. It is not a biological imperative. It's wasting our gas and risking far too many lives.

The car accident I saw was right outside of my work. There's an entrance ramp there. It has two lanes, one going one direction, the other obviously going the other. A black SUV was in the right lane preparing to head that direction when someone in the left lane decided he'd swerve over without checking. He corrected before hitting the SUV, but only because the SUV noticed in time and swerved himself. The SUV hit one of those orange construction cones and proceeded to flip off of the edge of the entrance ramp. It skidded down the hill, on its top, and the driver was left hanging from his seatbelt until he was pulled out of the car.

I can't imagine any of that was worth the extra four minutes the other driver was going to save. We'll never really know though, since he didn't wait around for the ambulance with the rest of us. He was late for somewhere, after all.