Saturday, August 09, 2008

Traffic - for the safety of us all

Some time ago, I bought my dream car – one of those plush cadillacs with great arm rests and leather seats. The only thing is that it just about put me to sleep, the ride was so cushioned; and it didn’t exactly stop on a dime. I kept getting hit because I couldn’t get out of the way fast. Having a job where I had to drive downtown a lot, I decided to switch to a sharp little small car that I could maneuver (Toyota), and the first week I had it I was able to avoid getting hit by an errant driver because I was able to get out of the way.

Well, of interest to us all, for our SAFE DRIVING, is TRAFFIC, by Tom Vanderbilt. Take a look at the book review by Mary Roach in The New York Times, as well as the one on (here's a pdf of facts - and you'll get some safety tips right off the bat. TRAFFIC is subtitled Why We Drive the Way We Do (And What It Says About Us).
We really are weird. The book review mentions that the more stop signs there are on a road, the more likely we are to run them.
It's for sure we are driving more these days. We're going out for things we used to have/do at home. And did you know that Starbucks now builds stores facing each other so no one has to make a left turn, because drive-in business is such a great source of income for them?
Of interest...

  • SUVs are more dangerous

  • Saturday at 1 pm has heavier traffic than rush hour

  • Up to 70% of people may just be looking for a parking space

  • Traffic fatalities aren't new - in 1867 in New York, 4 pedestrians were killed by horses every week

  • Things that we think are safer cause us to use less caution (like bicycle lanes)

  • And this fact won't surprise you -- many traffic slowdowns are caused by people slowing down to take a look. But it's surprising what they - okay WE - will gawk at! This is well-known in marketing lore - change is what catches people's attention

It's sobering again to read about the dangers of multi-tasking in the car - from cell phones, to shaivng, to map reading, to applying makeup, to dictating.

I found it especially interesting to read about the studies of ancient chariot runways. Apparently chariot traffic got so bad in ancient Rome, Caesar had to ban daytime driving except for certain activities.

I plan to read the book. Hope you will to. We could all use safer driving!

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