Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Highway Problem


I drive daily. Most people I know drive daily. Collectively, we expect that the highways we drive on are well constructed and safe. 

I have the pleasure of transiting two of the top 30 (numbers 6 and 22) traffic bottlenecks in Maryland on a daily basis.  I have gotten used to it. I don't enjoy the mess, but I have grown accustomed to the traffic jams. 

The real problem with traffic bottlenecks are the other drivers who believe that by sheer will power and aggressive driving they can beat the system. Sadly, they often wind up creating larger problems for the other drivers as they cause accidents.

Accident on the Jones Falls Expressway
from the Baltimore Sun
My commuting problems are light when compared to others in the region. I read about a roadway, that I fortunately do not traverse, that has near daily accidents in the same location. The Baltimore Sun reports  Baltimore seeking solutions to near-daily I-83 crashes 'at the Pepsi sign.' Reading the article makes it clear that this roadway is not just dangerous, it was under-designed for modern vehicles and traffic volumes. 

Is it the road's fault? Partly. But from my experiences during my daily commute, I know that many drivers do not understand the physics of driving. Hydroplaning or driving too fast on ice means that the vehicle will be operating under the paws of physics and not taking inputs from the steering wheel or brakes. 

Sometimes, though, the road is partially responsible. As drivers we expect the roads to be designed to meet a certain standard. When they are not up to standards, bad things occur. 

I am happy that I only traverse two of the 30 worst bottlenecks in Maryland on a daily basis, at lease I don't have to use one of the worst designed highways.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD


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