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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fireman's Rant Addendum

I've had some more thoughts cross my mind.

This is a follow-up to the original Fireman's Rant on Drivers. If you haven't read that yet, do so and then come back.

QUIT WITH THE CUTE FAKE ROAD SIGNS. Yeah, you've seen them. On someone's garage or at the end of their driveway. Cute, you named your driveway after your clan, and now we all get to know that your little bit of pavement is "Johnson Drive". But let's reconsider, especially in light suburban or rural areas.

Yes, one day you are pulling out of your driveway, and someone who failed to HANG UP AND DRIVE whacks you into the ditch. You are bleeding and unconscious, and the other guy's car is on top of yours and starting to burn. A passing motorist stumbles into the scene, pulls out the handy cell phone and calls 911. County 911, what are you reporting? "Hey, there's been this big wreck, a guy is trapped and there's a fire!" Where are you? (looks around....) "At the intersection of Johnson Drive and County Road 1234."

(Admit it. You KNOW there are plenty of people out there dumb enough to not know the difference between a 'real' sign and the cute one.)

Here one of two things happens:

(1) Sir, there is no 'Johnson Drive' in the County. Can you get a street address on County Road 1234? Oh, by the way, are your mailbox numbers large and legible, on the front and both sides? No? Sucks to be you. Passerby walks up the road looking for someone else's number while you get crispy and/or bleed out.

(2) We'll send help right away. Oh yeah, seven miles up the way there actually IS a real "Johnson Drive" that intersects County Road 1234. Fire and rescue, probably from more distant fire stations, responds to the wrong location, while you get crispy and/or bleed out.

Keep the cute fake road signs out of sight from the road. Thanks.

HEY BRAKE TAPPER, WANNA GET DEAD? I was already going to add this little bit when a delightfully ironic story appeared in the Ventura County Star. So you don't like being tailgated, eh? Sorry, no defense to the bonehead following you, but your smart options are (a) live with it, and (b) let them pass you. And yes, of course, there is a stupid option (c) tap your brakes to 'send them a message'. Yeah, brilliant, the message reads: I am a freaking idiot and am willing to die, maim or kill others, or at least screw up all traffic in order to prove my point.

If all goes well, your brake tap dance slows traffic down for everyone as the braking slinky works its way back up the lane. Are you so important that tailgaters will not be tolerated to the tune of causing traffic delays, unnecessary lane changes, and the increased risk of accidents brought by lane changes and speed differentials?

And what if the bonehead tailgater is doing their lipstick, changing the radio, or texting? Instead of making room behind you, you have just caused an accident that you may or may not survive. Someone farther back may freak out and swerve over the median, wiping out a minivan of innocent children and their Mom. At the very least you've got a damaged vehicle, raised insurance rates, you're late for whatever it was you were going to, and you have caused my brethren, medics and law enforcement friends to all drop what they were doing and come clean up your preventable mess.

Was it worth it?

Ask this brake tapper.

Oh wait, never mind, he's dead. Must have been pretty damn important. Enough so, in fact, that fire crews already on their way to another ostensibly legitimate emergency stumbled into this and had to stop and assist. Not only did he get dead, he also screwed up traffic for miles, scratched his bike up really bad (bummer, dude), risked others' lives, etc... and he prevented help from getting to another emergency. What a hero.

Darwin Awards were invented for guys like this. Are you a candidate, too? Just get out of the way and live another day.

UPDATE 8/30/09: A 2nd addendum has been added HERE.

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