Monday, June 04, 2007

Crazy Springfield Drivers

I've driven a number of places in my life, and a few of them in much bigger places than here in the Springfield, MO area...such as San Diego CA, Minneapolis MN during rush hours and traffic jams, San Jose CA, Chicago IL, Kansas City MO in rush hour, etc. But I have to say that for insane and completely awful drivers and driving...Springfield, MO takes the prize.

I am amazed at the number of near accidents I witness and/or am almost part of. Literally I am witness to accidents and near accidents every single day here. I've nearly been part of more accidents in the past 5 months here as in the entire 9.5 YEARS I lived in Rochester, MN. The congestion of traffic is pretty annoying, and people for whatever reason drive the worst ways they can for fuel economy, safety, and traffic congestion.

For example, I can see that we are a mere 200 meters from the next stoplight...which has been green for some time. I know it will turn yellow long before I could get there...even if I raced to the stoplight. But for whatever reason...everyone around me still races to get to that light...even as it turns yellow or is red already. They are still racing to that light. What is the point of that?

Also, the lights are there to space traffic out at the appropriate speed listed as the speed-limits. But the distance between lights is often long enough that if you drive 15-20 miles over the limit...you can catch the group of vehicles from the previous light. Well, this is exactly what many drivers try to do...which often makes it even more congested than normal. Again, what is the point of that?

People take a lot of back streets because the main roads really aren't able to take the number of vehicles that are on them. But instead of adhering to the 30-40 MPH limits, people try to drive 50-60 MPH. Now a lot of these are inlets to neighborhoods...or actually are neighborhoods! What is the point of endangering people walking or kids who might venture into the streets because you want to drive highway speeds in neighborhoods?

So...every morning I exercise patience and drive the speed limit and obey all that traffic laws to the best of my ability. And every morning driving turns into this game like the opening sequence of the movie Office Space with Peter dealing with traffic...for the OTHER drivers. People are racing around me like bats out of hell, but I get to the same stoplight as they do. Rinse and repeat. All they are doing is driving unsafe and consuming way more fuel than I am.

Springfield drivers need to listen up...obey the traffic laws and speed limits. Drive conservatively and safely. Need to get to work on time? Take off 5 minutes earlier. Sick of fuel costs? Drive more conservatively and save fuel (or get a smaller vehicle).