Thursday, June 30, 2011

Road trip!!

On Monday, I started on a road trip to Spring Arbor University, which as luck would have it, is located in Spring Arbor Michigan. I was traveling with 13 teenagers and 2 other adults. The adults split up the driving. I will share more on the purpose of this trip in a later post.

Mr. Ted Dancing-Burger, one of the other adult drivers, and I, made some interesting observations. First, Michigan is very serious about keeping their construction workers safe. I am sure all states are, but Michigan boldly puts up signage indicating that penalties for driving infractions are doubled in work-zones. They also clearly post the penalties for injuring or killing a worker in a construction zone.

In Michigan, injuring or killing a worker in a construction zone is 15 years in prison and a $7,500 dollar fine. Mr Dancing-Burger and myself, being quite intelligent and very analytical, surmised that the if the penalties in a work-zone were doubled, then hitting a worker outside a zone would only result in 7.5 years in prison and a $3,750 fine.

With that information, our plan, should we have an unfortunate mishap and strike a worker, was hatched. The driver would stop the van, the passenger would jump out, grab the injured worker, and put him or her into the van. The driver would then drive outside the work-zone, where we would call for emergency medical services. By driving out of the construction zone we would be able to cut our possible jail time in half. Combine that with splitting the penalty between the two of us, we probably would be eligible for parole before the trip was over.

As we traveled down Michigan’s wonderfully maintained highways, Mr Dancing-Burger and I looked carefully for any workers who might be straying onto the driving lane. We did not see any. They were all well off the road and there was little chance of our hitting them, no matter how hard we might try. Since we could not hit any workers, we dutifully followed the signs and drove with caution, kept an eye out for workers, lowered our speed, and generally were well behaved motorists. Just like all the other motorists around us.

Then we reached the “end of construction” road signs. Freedom. Liberty. It was as if there was another sign with the “end of construction” sign, one that said, “Drive with Reckless Abandon.”

And so we did.

The next observation we made was that there were people who blatantly refused to use their cruise control. When I first started to drive, I was excited about the possibility of cruise control. I was eager to try cruise control - to set that magic button, lean back, put my feet up on the dashboard and take a nap while the car automagically drove to my desired destination.

My driver instructor, whom I will call Dad, told me that was not how cruise control worked. He explained that cruise control simply kept the speed constant. I think Dad took great delight in crushing my delight. I, too, then, have endeavored to crush my children’s delight in like manner.

I am amazed at how many many motorists do not use their cruise control. They drive past me at break neck speed, and a few miles down the road, as I start to pass them, they look over in a stupor. I can almost hear them thinking, “I just passed that guy....why is he passing me? What is going on? How is he doing that?” Then a look of moderate understanding comes over their face. “Oh boy oh boy oh boy, I sloooowed down.” They then correct their error in forward velocity, accelerate, and waste fossil fuel.

The last observation we made was regarding those that text while driving. Back in the day, when you saw someone careening across all three lanes of a highway, it could be safely assumed they were drunk. Now it is safe to assume they are texting.

That is all I can type now, I need to put this van in park and get it unloaded.

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