How am I driving?
September 28, 2006
While many of you no doubt wing your way to vacation destinations, there is a contingent of us who still call the highways and byways of America home. And while on the road it is not uncommon to see an 18-wheeler weaving in and out of both lanes of the interstate on bald tires with a sticker on the rear tailgate that reads “How Am I Driving?” and a 1-800 number under the question for you to call if you have an answer.It got me to thinking. What if we all had an 800 number on the back of our vehicles for folks to call with comments – good or bad – about our cruising habits? What would others think of the way you get up and down the valley?Highway 82, once dubbed “Killer 82” for the number of collisions that occurred when it was an unmarked, icy, two-lane road with barely enough room for passing, has grown up. It is still a killer, but today the biggest danger is derived from speed and aggressive driving on the wider, four-lane, 40-plus-mile section of road that extends from Buttermlk to Glenwood Springs.There are plenty of opportunities for motorists not only to speed on the highway, but also to use little tricks of the trade to get around their fellow drivers and save anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds on their morning or evening commutes into and out of town.Let’s start at the three-lane jam at the Buttermilk light coming upvalley. Are you the kind of driver who waits in line in the left lane with others in the morning? Or do you sprint to the right in the turning lane which actually allows one to jump forward all the way to the entrance of the Inn at Aspen before you need to hit your turn signal and merge in front of those other poor suckers? Time it right and you can get all the way to the Tiehack turn before darting back into the line of cars.How do you handle the roundabout once you’ve saved a second or two at Buttermilk? Do you stay in the center and merge, yielding to traffic in the circle and letting the cars from Maroon Creek slide into the flow? Or do you head right and power through, getting a jump on your neighbors (ha-ha) as they lurch to a halt, intimidated by your mastery of the traffic circle?At day’s end, as you leave town, do you accept the sad truth that the S-turn slows everyone down? Or do you head for the left lane and bear down on the Hickory House with an unstoppable desire to get ahead?Common courtesy is in shorter and shorter supply these days. Apply some on the roads, and we’ll all be safer.