Tag: Driving

Saturday Providence Traffic

So today – we grabbed a zipcar and were all over the place from South Attleboro, MA to Coventry, RI and a bunch of meandering in the Providence/Cranston area.

So one of our trips took us up to the east side of Providence. Down near Pitman Street to be precise. It was a mission to get a certain soap that I both love and that is really good for my skin. The Whole Foods on North Main doesn’t carry it all that often, the one deeper on the east side does. So we went over there. Now coming back you take Angel St. and come down the hill towards Exchange Terrace and from there connect to Broadway.

The issue was – traffic was a nightmare. The Home show is going on today. So I decide I’ll risk going up toward Francis St. which is all the mall traffic. Made it to Francis and Gaspee and decided I’d go AROUND the State House and come down the back side of Providence Place Mall then up the connector and onto Dean St. and from there it’s an easy shot home.

Get half way down and some asshole is trying to turn left to go into the mall. And nobody is letting him in. Finally he edged out a little, I went around and was on the way home.

Now for the gripe – the snow removal during this winter was pretty damned bad. There is ice everywhere and cars parked make it hazardous to drive down the street.

Combine those two things and it’s no fun to drive in the City of Providence on a Saturday.

Ruminations on Driving Part VI

Today just before lunch time I found myself on I-95 Northbound coming out of the exit 7 area of Coventry, RI and heading toward Bald HIll Road in Warwick, RI.

To get there you have to be in the extreme left lane because the ramp for I-295 North is on the left hand side.

Now the left speed in my opinion is for ludicrous speed – minimum 75MPH and higher. So I’m clipping along at about 80MPH when I see brake lights ahead of me. I slam on mine. We went from 80MPH down to 40MPH in the space of a few seconds.

The reason – some asshole decided to jack up on the brakes of their card and fuck everything up.

A pox upon that person who decided it’d be fun to drop the speed in half. But to add insult to injury then they decided to speed up again.

We got to our destination and did what we had to do. The next episode happened when we were close to home.

To come home I take I-95 North again and then merge onto RI Route 10. RI-10 is a big bypass road that loops around I-95 and from there I take the Olneyville/Westminster St. exit, go east on Westminster St.  to go north on Barton St. and then it’s a right off Barton onto Broadway and I’m almost home.

But the next major intersection up is Tobey St. There’s a traffic light there. I have the green light but some ass in a blue SUV decides to run the light. And of course said asshole just blocks the eastbound side of Broadway because now traffic is flowing. I lay on the horn, he throws the finger. I’m like “Hey asshole – you ran the light, not me. ”

Driving isn’t fun anymore.

Driving Offensively

So I know, I know. You’re taught to drive defensively. But this post is about the offensive driving I’ve seen just this weekend in and about the Warwick, East Greenwich, North Kingstown and Newport areas.

The first offense was at a commercial drag in NK. I’m in the left lane and this jerk with a pickup  truck pulls in from the left he swings INTO MY LANE! Asshole!

And please – I’ve posted before on how speed limits are set artificially low in order to increase traffic violation revenue. For example, I’m old enough to remember prior to the energy crisis the speed limit on I-95 through Rhode Island was 70MPH. Now it’s 50 or 55MPH until you get down around exit 10 or so and then rises to 65MPH. But here’s the thing, try doing the legal limit. Try not getting run over. Try. Because that highway moves at 70-80MPH now.

So it hit me today – instead of setting the maximum speed limit for a highway why not set a minimum of say 80MPH in the left lane.

That’s the other thing – get the fuck out of the left lane if you’re gonna do the speed limit. As I do more highway driving I find a certain aggressive behavior emerging on my part. When I come upon an ass wipe in the left lane I had once tried flashing the beams. People in RI don’t know what that means. So I do what you’d naturally do. No, not pass on the right. I get right on your fucking bumper. And big surprise, people in RI move right when you do that now. Yay!

And while I’m on the high horse – maybe we need to revise drivers education and the manuals. Because it’s pretty obvious the jig is up regards speeding. The cars we have today are much tighter than cars of old. They’ve got traction control, automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, and direct port electronic fuel injection. Cars have oomph again.

And lets face it – I know that going from 70MPH to 0MPH in the space of a few seconds will make your insides leap outside. But it’s a risk you take. And I figure maybe I’m not so much an offensive driver, I tend to leave long distances between me and other cars on a normal basis, I signal lane changes, etc. But I am an aggressive  s well head up north of 85MPH because the end would come much faster at that speed.

So maybe I’m not so much an offensive driver, I tend to leave long distances between me and other cars on a normal basis, I signal lane changes, etc. But I am an aggressive driver as evidenced above.

But one blew my mind earlier. I was coming down Division Road in East Greenwich and come upon a stop sign. I actually come to a complete stop. Jerk face behind me flashes his beams at me. Yo fucker – you’re lucky. I’d take the lights out of your car and shove them up your ass. Every time the power goes out all you have to do is bend over.

Thoughts on driving

So lately I’ve been driving from Warwick/East Greenwich, RI to Newport RI. That involves getting on RI-4 South, then Route 1 South and RI-138 East. 

My thoughts on RI-4 are who the hell builds a highway and then puts two crossroads with signals on said highway. Christ on a stick, make over or under passes for those roads and stop the horse shit. Because from about the Rte. 401 link on I-4 right to the spot where it says ‘No more numbered exits” you know you’re in the shit because of those god damned traffic lights. 

Now – where RI-4 ends and dumps in U.S. 1 there are clear signs that the right lane ends. But morons stay in the right lane until the very last moment and then look at you like you’re the one with six eyes because you wouldn’t let them merge. Oh well, should have paid attention there ass wipe. 

But my favorite is what I now refer to as a Twatmobile. In essence it’s a mini-van almost invariably driven by women, hence the Twat part. I know, I know, I’m going to get tagged as a misogynist but fuck it. 

Back to the story – RI-138 both ways is two lanes. Now I have this strict thing – if you’re in the left lane you’d better be going above the posted speed limit. And here’s a fun video that explains the true danger isn’t speeding, but the change of speed.

So anyhow invariably it’s always a Twatmobile in the left fucking lane doing 30MPH! Ut si. I do the polite and European thing – I flash the high beams. It’s my way of saying “Get the fuck out of the way!”.  When they don’t move and there is a break in right lane I’ll be sure to move right, speed up, pass the Twatmobile and cut it off, well in my fantasies. I just hit the gas and go. 

I can still recall back in drivers education they taught defensive driving. I believe in offensive driving. :) 

Some driving observations on our recent trip

A few things occurred during our recent trip to North Carolina that stand out and deserve a post of their own.

I’ll number them for easy reference:

1) Drove down using the new EZ-Pass. Because it’s portable between vehicles I had it backwards and it wouldn’t register. Flipping it around worked. Now here is another tangent – we don’t even NEED little RFID packs to ID for tolls anymore. Simply change the EZ Pass to be based on machine readable license plates. Problem solved – and you can apply it to ANY vehicle, just go to the EZ Pass web site and plug in the registration number and off you go. But I do note that many states are now doing EZ Pass Only Lanes. These don’t even tell you if the pass was read, you just fly through at 45 to 50 MPH. I love it!

2) Related to the above point I noted something. States that charge tolls tend to have the WORST roadways. I offer as example the New Jersey Turnpike and I-95 through Connecticut. The former is rutted, pock marked, and generally unpleasant to drive on, whereas the latter has highways that have a glass like surface that is a joy to drive on. No hum, drone, bump, all gone. This is the crux of my complaint about tolls: If the money collected actually paid for maintenance, replacement and improvement of the roadways it would be one thing, but that it doesn’t says legislators steal, yes I said it, steal the money from tolls for other purposes.

3) Drivers in Rhode Island and Virginia have something in common. Neither of them can drive worth a damn. The worst traffic jams going down were in Virginia. They were due mostly to gawk factor. For example, a police cruiser with cars pulled over causes a massive traffic jam. And then an accident like we saw where a minivan apparently went through a thicket of trees and came out stuffed with foliage. That backed traffic up for 15 miles. A bit of advice – just move along.

4) Cops – they are completely predictable. Mostly because a lot of cops are dumb as a box of rocks (mostly the local yokels), and the other because on long stretches of road you realize it’s impossible to patrol all of it.

4A) If you are going to speed, always try to get a vehicle in front of you that is moving faster that way they become the target for law enforcement attention and not you. So while you’re doing 85MPH, let some idiot doing 90MPh get out ahead. He’ll get pulled over first.

4B) This is the interesting part. If you haven’t seen it I suggest you watch this clip. The passenger compartment stays intact but just watch and remember this next time you’re humming along at 70MPH, 80MPH etc.

Yes that is correct. The passenger compartment may survive but rapid deceleration from 102 feet per second to 0 feet per second will make your internal organs want to leap out of your body. Not good.

So with that point in mind remember the rule of the road that you leave one car length for every 10MPH of speed. With modern vehicles with anti-lock and anti-skid you can probably get down to maybe half that. But leave space for other to merge in. And a tip, when merging in to a lane at speed, punch the accelerator pedal. Eek every last foot pound of torque out of that engine because nothing annoys more than when you’re moving at 80MPH and leaving plenty of space and some dick wad moves in doing 65MPH. Get up to speed then move in or have a car that can accelerate instantly. If you can do neither, stay the fuck out of the left lane!

It’s interesting, I mentioned this little fact to the girl at the car rental place. She had a look of shock on her face when I told her about rapid deceleration.

4C) Think like a cop. Get to know the local schedules etc. Plus if you drive by an accident scene with 4 or 5 cruisers on scene, that’s likely the entire complement for a 50 mile stretch of road.

4D) If you are going to speed, be smart about it. Look for obvious hiding spots. And if you see a cop in the median and you’re speeding just back off the gas, don’t jack on the brakes. This is especially true if you’re in a pack of cars doing roughly the same speed.

5) The most polite drivers between Rhode Island and North Carolina are the latter. For example, if you’re in the left lane and you come upon a slower moving vehicle, without having to flash your high beams, they move right and let you pass. Imagine that!

6) One of the more idiotic things is a DUI Checkpoint. Cops in podunk towns don’t get proper traffic control training and so handle it badly. RI did away with check points back in 1989. But we still get plenty of DUI’s in the state. I think cell service is so ubiquitous that people will narc on you. Plus some towns here have more roving patrols so they catch more people. Part of it is driven by FHA rules for highways. It’s also responsible for primary seat belt laws out there too. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that seat belts save lives. But here in RI we have a primary seat belt law that started as secondary, but no helmet law for motorcyclists!

7) The worst roads on the eastern seaboard are in RI.

At Last, EZ Pass is in my hands

If you’ve been reading you know that I’ve had quite the saga getting an EZ Pass out of the Rhode Island Bridge and Turnpike Authority.

A brief synopsis:

I ordered one back in early December, 2011. Now I’m one who expects things I order to get there within a few days, unless of course it’s coming from Asia. But by January when I still didn’t have my transponder I wrote RIBTA and asked what was up? I also called and was told it can take weeks for the transponders to arrive.

One phone call even told me I could go down to Jamestown to pick it up. Now as you might have surmised, I’d have to rent a Zipcar to get there, incurring an additional expense.

So yesterday I sent an email to the director of the RIBTA. That letter follows:

Hello Mr. Croft,

I’m wondering if perhaps you’d be able to help resolve an issue I’ve been having with getting an EZ Pass from RIBTA delivered to my home here in Providence.

To start, here is my account number:

XXXXXXXXXXX

I ordered the EZPass back in early December of 2011.

I’ve had dealings with staff there via email and phone with the last saying I could drive down and get one. This is UNACCEPTABLE.

Here is what I am proposing:

1) It is obvious that RIBTA has transponders on hand

2) I am proposing that you priority mail a transponder to me at:

{REDACTED}

Please let me know if this proposal can be satisfied.

I received a phone call from Mr. Croft at 8:16PM last night. I described the saga for him and he asked that I be patient until this morning so he could get the story on his side.

At 9:17AM today I got a call from Ms. O’Conner gave me two options. She could drop it in the mail, or she was headed to Boston at 2:00PM and she could drop it off. She did acknowledge that they do drop-offs on occasion.

And she just dropped it off about 10 minutes ago. So I’ll be able to use my EZ Pass on our spring trip to North Carolina.

My thanks to Mr. Croft and Ms. O’Conner. Had I known writing Croft would get the ball rolling I would have done that in the first place.