Sunday, June 15, 2008

Drivers in the US

Ok, here I was thinking that the reason the drivers in the US, northwest Austin in specific, were so bad is because they're a bunch of sub-70 IQ morons who somehow managed to get a drivers license. You know, the type who barge out into traffic without even thinking of yielding to oncoming traffic, too busy talking and setting up the DVD for the parasite kid in the back, to pay attention to the small fact they're piloting a huge SUV at highway speeds while on a suburban street.

Then I spot this article on the Atlantic website. The writer makes the argument drivers in the US are not as safe as the drivers in the UK because of all the road signs and speed limit changes.

And I began to think that the American system of traffic control, with its many signs and stops, and with its specific rules tailored to every bend in the road, has had the unintended consequence of causing more accidents than it prevents. Paradoxically, almost every new sign put up in the U.S. probably makes drivers a little safer on the stretch of road it guards. But collectively, the forests of signs along American roadways, and the multitude of rules to look out for, are quite deadly.

It's quite possible this gentleman is correct, all the signs further distract drivers here from the number one task of driving: Watching where you are going.

The local cops and DPS (Department of Public Safety) always spout off about distracted drivers. Cell phones, DVD players, GPS systems, nagging wives, kids, animals, eating, arguing, TEXT Messaging*. All distract drivers.

When I was taking pilot lessons, I learned real quick how not to be distracted. My flight instructor would always try to distract me while I was performing a maneuver, such as landing or taking off. The key here was to teach me to ignore a distraction until I was in a better place to handle it. Like parked and with the engine off.

What the author of the article I quote is missing is the simple fact most of the people in the US are - simply put - morons.

More and more stupid people are procreating at alarming rates and those Jerry Springer stars are now outnumbering us smarter people by almost 5 to 1. It doesn't help that smarter people know what causes babies and can usually plan for one, then only have one or two. Stupid people often have no idea they're pregnant until the kid drops out, many women have no idea that SEX causes pregnancy.

I kid you not. Google that - a lot of women in the lower income classes here in the US don't connect the dots on this fact.

Like populations of fire ants, where the fire ants have overpopulated and pushed out other, more benign species of ants, much to the annoyance of the humans, the lower intelligent humans are over populating our planet much to the annoyance of us more intelligent humans.

I don't mind all the damn signs here. I mind the arbitrary speed limit changes. For example, Anderson Mill Road, when a 2-lane road, was safe at 35mph. When it opened out to a 2 lane road, it goes to 40mph. Two years they worked to change the 2 lanes to 4, now it's a wide open, smooth, easily traveled road, with great visibility, medians, turn lanes ... stuck at 35mph!

What Mr Staddon misses with his observation of our speed limits is this small fact - a lower speed limit on better roads causes drivers to speed, thus SPEED TRAPS to generate much needed income to the county.

*Yes, TEXT messaging. Not bad enough they're talking and driving, but texting as well.