This weekend, I experienced some mess that reminded me just how oh-so-very controlled we are in America. The loving hubby and the beautiful stepdaughters and I had a great, long weekend in the DC area, visiting with family and friends, hitting up BBQs and parks, and generally soaking up the sunlight while we could get it.

But our fun in the sun was cut short by our ridiculously extended ride back to NYC. This trip took not the usual four, but nearly seven freakin’ hours just to make it into the vicinity of the city!

Was there some awful accident accompanied by some awful rubbernecking? A bottleneck at an understaffed toll booth? Massive construction creating a merging nightmare? Nope. I’m convinced it was the signs that did it.

For those who’ve never had the pleasure of driving down the eastern coast of the U.S. on I-95, there are electronic signs that are supposedly meant to alert motorists to problems that lie ahead and control traffic to keep the roads safe. Yeah, they control traffic all right.

After the third time we got caught in a 30+ minute slowdown/standstill that suddenly cleared for no apparent reason, it dawned on me—folks were following the signs, which read: “Slow down. Congestion ahead.” The problem was, the congestion only came about when folks jammed on their brakes to avoid this prognosticated roadblock; it only takes a few dickheads slowing down to back up three lanes of traffic. Seriously. Once we were hip, the hubby and I watched for the brake lights to come on after we passed a sign—and they did, like clockwork the rest of the way home. And there was nothing we could do about it but go with the flow.

Word? You mean to tell me cats are so brainwashed that we let some signs turn a quick jaunt up the coast into a never-ending adventure? Think I’m crazy if you want to, but about a mile after the last sign, the road opened up the rest of the way home.

So why would the Department of Transportation, or the government, or the highway patrol, or whoever the hell controls the signs do that? Just because they can, I figure. Oh, and the longer you’re stopped, the more likely you are to pull into rest stops for bathroom and food breaks…

Where have you heard the baaaa-ing of mindless sheep lately?


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Last 5 posts by kenrya

  • Sal

    That is just crazy, and I am so sorry you went through that. We have the same problem on the mountain passes here in the Pacific Northwest.

  • J-Rod

    Dubya got elected…TWICE! People are def sheep. And thinking is becoming extinct. Argh!

  • we were in the same traffic…i used the backroads of jerz and then SAT in the Holland tunnel for 1 hour, smh.

  • Diane

    ah yes… another reason I departed. Well, when that happens, the minute it starts on the Turnpike – get thee off to the GSParkway. Sounds a little out of the way, but it isn’t. Not when you can feel the breeze from the open window wafting through your car as it glides at 75mph or so. The feeling of power over the lemmings (which is a misnomer, they don’t follow off cliffs. I’m sure the US funded some international study of this…) will make the final leg of your journey that much more pleasant.

    (I’ve spent upwards of 5 hours in turnpike traffic, where one couldn’t get to an exit…)

  • Leilani

    I’ve definitely have experienced a lot of bad driving in since commuting to work via boonies. The electrical signs do cause distractions no matter what’s on it. But people are just too nosy. People are stopped on the side of the road, cars slow down 10 mph under the speed limit; cop on the side of the road, cars slow down 10 mph under the speed limit; people do the speed limit in the fast lane, fast cars move to the right and slow cars slow down. Don’t get me started on ignorant drivers who excessively speed in slow traffic, drive in the exit lane to jump ahead of one car, etc.

  • Van

    I can not believe it took you that long to get home!! Imagine if you had to deal with it on a regular basis!?!? I totally understand how you feel about those signs and thank you for finally addressing the issue.

    I really thought this only occurred south of the Mason-Dixie line. Living in Baltimore County and originally coming from NY for over 11 years, you would think that I have gotten used to the rubbernecking, but I’m not!!

    For the most part, I am relieved when after the stall in traffic is not a bad accident. . .just plain old nosyness, which plays a major part in traffic issues. I also think that some people really do not read properly, why else would it take you so long to read a sign??

    On I-695 in Maryland it is the worst!! I am thinking about bringing the issue up with my delegate and requesting that they only display the notices in emergency situations and/or during certain hours when traffic is not at such a high volume.

  • Tahad

    I’m a sucker for signs. I see America in total “New World “Gov” Control”. Please follow the leader. No pushing and grumpling.