The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

18 August 2011

Of signals and detours

I am not a nervous driver.  I've driven at top speed down the 401 in a three-hamster-powered sardine can between a wavering transport truck and a concrete wall. I've driven in that same plastic car in rain so fierce Noah would have felt right at home.  I drove through the Great Ice Storm of 1998, taking snow banks and ice-rinked hills that had defeated manly SUVs.

(Oh, how I loved that car!  Happy memories of Robbie huddled in the hatch as I drove 6 people to the bowling ally; Warren crammed in the back with his guitar and all our luggage  as we headed to a joyful summer of camp counseloring; poor Wendy subjected to Depeche Mode at top volume to and from youth group once a week; my first long solo road trip; getting lost with my sister in Montreal and finding ourselves staring at signs for the US - where did Ottawa go? Wasn't it just back here....?)

I don't have as many adventures by car these days, but still and all, I do enjoy getting behind the wheel and letting the road unfold beneath my four wheels.  I must own, though, that I really don't like driving in the rain at night - I can't see the road, which is something of an essential when operating a motor vehicle.  That has to do with the peculiarity of how my eyes work rather than the mechanics of driving or traffic conditions.

There is something that does make me nervous on the road though, and I avoid whenever at all possible: car carriers. Seeing cars, pick-up trucks, vans, SUVs... what have you, bouncing and swaying in a double tier at 120 km/h down Canada's busiest highway makes me nervous. There is no discernible means of securing the vehicles to the truck.  How are they kept in place?  How do I know that come the next little uneven patch in the road that large blue van taunting me from the back isn't going to just slide right off the rails and come crashing through my windshield? The back end of those carriers seem to drift from one side of their lane to the other much more than other transport trucks do.  That makes me nervous when I'm trying to pass them, which I will always do when I come up behind one. My general mode of operation is to grip my steering wheel firmly, press the gas pedal with determination, stiffen my spine with resolve, grit my teeth, and if necessary close my eyes until I am safely out in front of that precarious disaster-waiting-to-happen.

I did recently take a little trip to visit a town I used to live in.  It involved six different highways, one of which has gotten much busier since I last frequented it. This time there was a very bad accident, which necessitated the use of emergency flares and detouring traffic off and around.  I knew I had to use a detour because there was a helpful detour sign where I was required to exit the highway... but that was the only sign.  As I left-turned my way through horse country, I hoped that the black car off in the distance was also trying to find its way back to the highway, because I was following it.  If not, no problem...I have a blanket in the trunk in case of emergencies.

Thinking to avoid the Canadian Curse of summer-time road work, I took a different route home... only to find yet another detour, this time due to bridge repair. I went back the way I came.

I would just like to say to the gentleman in the champagne-coloured Toyota headed south on the QEW on Wednesday evening: drifting lazily from one lane to another is not the equivalent to using your signal lights.

1 comment:

  1. OOOOoooh...people that don't use their signal lights make me Yosemite Sam gets mad at Bugs Bunny. That's me!!