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Friday, July 18, 2008

Why the hurry?

Connie Castanera

Now, more than ever, we have an excellent reason to slow down on the road. Since gas prices have climbed to an all-time high in our country, we can all get better gas mileage by slowing down. The US Department of Energy estimates that it can cost an additional 30 cents per gallon for each 5 miles per hour that one travels over 60 miles per hour. Those driving slower than 60 miles per hour can save as much as 23% on their gas bill. But, it doesn't seem to matter to most of the folks that I encounter on the road. Everyone seems to be a big hurry to get somewhere.

Why do I seem to the one of the few, and sometimes the only one, to obey the speed limit signs? Driving on Route 15 to Frederick, from Emmitsburg, Maryland, can be a little scary at times. I set my speed control at 55 and stay in the right lane. I can assure you that I am usually alone in that lane, as the cars, trucks and motorcycles zip past me. Once I reach the Frederick area, I turn off the speed control, because there is usually too much traffic entering and exiting the highway for me to maintain a steady velocity on Route 15.

Too often I find myself looking in my rear view mirror, to find that a tractor trailer is only a couple of feet from my bumper, trying to force me to increase my speed. Remember, I stay in the right lane and travel the speed limit! Eventually the speeders pass me; but in the meantime, it's very scary to know that something that large is almost on your rear bumper. I can only imagine what might happen if I had to quickly break to avoid hitting a deer or another car.

June 7th, on Rt. 140, at the Frederick and Carroll counties border, a tractor trailer carrying a mobile home was obviously going way too fast and tipped over on the bridge. There went someone's home! Only days later, in the very same spot, a dump truck flipped on the very same bridge. What was the hurry?

Whether it's on the expressways, state, county, or side roads, we just all need to slow down. People are dying needlessly as a result of someone being in a hurry to get somewhere. What could possibly be so important that so many are willing to risk their own life, or put others at risk, to get to a destination in such a hurry?

For economic reasons, as well as health reasons, we all need to take a look at the way we drive. Hopefully, we'll all conclude that nothing is worth the risk that accompanies speeding to our destination. Having a driver's license is a privilege, not a right. If we all drove responsibly, our insurance rates would drop, we would save money on gas, and most importantly, less people would be victimized by automobile accidents.

Really, why the hurry?

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