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Shut up and drive
by Larry Wilson
Oct 20, 2008 | 382 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As I travel around the Reno area streets and highways, something occurred to me that I wasn’t aware of before. The high-end vehicles, like the Lexus, must not be as equipped with many of the basic items necessary for safe operation as their lower-priced counterparts. Specifically, turn signals seem to be missing from these high-end examples of “Eureka, we’ve made it.”

I have no problem with people who drive a Lexus owning those uninspired, butt-ugly, overpriced status symbols. I’m proud they choose to share the road with me. However, I would wish that along with the quadraphonic living room quality surround-sound stereo, they would have also ordered the simpler version of the turn signal in their basic gauges and gadgets package.

Sometimes I think I should have my own personal defibrillator on board to resuscitate myself when one of the Lexus leviathans decides to change lanes or turn in front of me on the freeway at NASCAR speeds. I don’t own a vehicle with one of those proximity sensors to tell me when I’m either getting too close to another vehicle or they are getting too close to me. As a result, I almost go into cardiac arrest when I see one of them moving in my direction with no notice.

Another favorite move is when one of them wants to exit the freeway. Instead of getting behind you to exit, they pass you, cut in front of you and then slow down to match the proper exit speed before they exit. The effect on you is to almost put you against the windshield as their deceleration exponentially affects yours to a factor of at least 10. I know they don’t want to ever let anyone think they might get ahead of them, but come on, folks, you’re getting off the freeway and I’m staying on the freeway. Hello!!! We’re not playing “Keeping up with the Joneses” or “One upmanship” now.

Since I’m venting all my transportation pet peeves with this effort let me add one more: cell phones. I think the cell phone is one of the neatest inventions of my entire lifetime.

I can’t, for the life of me, understand how two things have happened with the advent of the cell phone. The first is that I didn’t think people had to be so in touch with everyone else that they have to have that cell phone attached semi-permanently to their ear. It takes 50 percent of your hands to achieve that feat and heaven knows how much it adds to the unsafe operation of your vehicle, be it semi or moped. The second cell phone phenomenon is that with all the high-tech do-dads available for the cell phonatics, some people still just don’t invest in a hands free setup for that ingenious little box. They could still talk to their heart’s content, but they could then use both hands to operate whatever vehicle they are trying to drive. Hands-free won’t insure that they are any more attentive to the task at hand but they at least would have both hands to assist them in the effort, if they so choose.

The best news of all is that I’ve heard there is a movement afoot to add high speed German Autobon-type roadways here in America. Oh boy!! I can hardly wait. Yee-haw!!!

Larry Wilson is a 50-year resident of Sparks and a retired elementary school teacher. You can contact him at
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Shut up and drive by Larry Wilson

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