Daylight savings time ends on Saturday night. It's the time we "gain an hour" as we set our clocks back to adjust for the shorter days and longer nights of the colder seasons.
And thank goodness - not because I'll get extra sleep this weekend (I have small kids so extra sleep is only a fairy tale to me), but because I've lost more than two hours sitting in traffic this week.
Wednesday, Katie and I travelled to Lexington for a conference. Our trip on I-64 was halted twice due to accidents. All total, we spent an extra hour on I-64 sitting and waiting as emergency crews responded to the accidents. On that day, we were lucky. We only lost time - not our lives. One of the accidents resulted in three fatalities - not something that anyone wants to happen when they get into their vehicle in the morning.
Yesterday, my 12 mile trip to work turned into an hour long adventure when a primary two lane route was blocked in both directions due to an accident. Half of the Highlands lost their minds trying to find another way to school or work or wherever it was they needed to be at 7:30 am.
And - it seemed as if people did lose their minds while they were stalled on both of these days. I saw drivers cut people off, run red lights, blow their horns and curse their fellow drivers (as if that helped), and nearly cause additional accidents. I think it is safe to say that traffic delays do not bring out the best behavior in any of us.
I understood their frustration. I wanted to be where I needed to be, but there was simply nowhere to go. There isn't an extra lane on I-64 to reroute traffic and there certainly isn't a center lane on Newburg Road to try to ease the congestion and allow people to move.
But there could be - traffic studies could be conducted on both those routes to determine what, if any, improvements could be made to increase the likelihood that the users could safety travel to their destinations. However, there is a cost associated with those improvements - whether they are as simple as improving the surface of the road or as complicated as adding an entire new lane of traffic. Actual improvements take real money - real investments. But the return on that investment - the increased safety and efficient movement on a route - is priceless.
Safety isn't just about our roads and our responsibilities as drivers - like remaining calm, putting the phone down, or buckling up. It is about our entire transportation network. It is about making sure the roads, airports, rail lines, and riverports are maintained and enhanced to ensure they can meet the needs of their users - even as those users increase.
If we don't ensure our transportation network keeps up with the increased amount of users, we are guaranteeing that we're all, at the worst, willing to accept the increased risk of an accident or, at best, that we're willing to accept that we will lose more and more time stuck in traffic due to delays.
I don't want to lose hours and hours each week stuck in traffic - after all, I don't gain an hour every week. Do you?
And one other reminder - next Tuesday, November 8, is Election Day. Make sure you locate your polling location and go VOTE!
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