Last weekend was my wife's birthday, and we decided to go for a day of shopping at the Huntington Mall. It's a great mall (I love the bookstore), but I only go maybe twice a year, if that even. I just can't stand driving on I-64. That has to be to the deadliest, most dangerous and psychotic roadway in the entire United States!
The speed limit is 70 mph, which is entirely too fast for me. To make things worse, many drivers pad the speed limit by 10 or sometimes even 20 miles. I literally was terrified as I tried to merge into traffic within a convoy of semis barreling down at me doing 80 mph. I drove a modest 60 or 65 mph, and cars were pushing me down the road, flying past me, taking only a moment to flip me off or throw me a nasty stare. Nice folks.
People need to slow down! I never really have considered the issue of a national speed limit until last weekend. I don't think it should be 55, but I do think 60 (maybe 65) is plenty. Nobody even considers safety anymore. They just fly down the road, creating their own turn lanes where none exists and racing through the first two seconds of a red light, while they talk on their cell phones or fiddle with their radio. Once, I actually saw a guy driving down the road playing a banjo!
When I was 16, adults said that was too young to drive. Now, not so many years later, I absolutely agree with them. Youth carries with it a sense of invulnerability, and a car adds to that a sense of freedom, independent, status and power. That's a dangerous mixture.
Above all else, let me just urge everyone to wear your seat belt. You can be as safe as possible and do everything right, but there's always someone else out there whom you can't predict. Seat belts save lives. That's a fact. They aren't a failsafe, but many people walk away from crashes only because they were wearing a seat belt. I know, because I'm one of them.
The roads are a dangerous and scary place. As for me, I'll stay away from I-64 for a while, and suffer through my five-mile commute to work. At least until the boss agrees to let me work from home!
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.