September 30, 2010
Since retiring here six years ago, I’ve found the people of Carson Valley to be warm, friendly, and accommodating (gee, they even stop for you when you’re crossing 395 on foot). So why do so many of them turn into maniacal speed demons on Highway 395 between here and Carson City?
In July I had a chance to take a temporary job in north Carson. After six years of retirement, it was a little scary to jump back into the workplace. But what has turned out to be truly terrifying is the half-hour commute every morning and again every evening.
I’m no old fogey – I’m not even quite old enough for Medicare yet – but I find the posted speed limit of 65 mph to be plenty fast enough for the conditions. Highway 395 isn’t even an Interstate. It has two stoplight intersections and many other minor ones where drivers can (and do) turn on to 395 at a slow speed.
Yet in every commute I’ve made, most other drivers are whizzing by me at 70-80 mph or more and there are rarely any NHP patrol cars in sight.
Now I realize that in an hour these drivers could go 10 miles or more farther than I can go at 65 mph. But come on – the 65 mph zone only lasts about seven miles before it drops to 55 in either direction (not that most other drivers pay any attention to that either). Let’s see – if I go 65 mph in seven miles, it takes me 6.5 minutes.
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The drivers passing me might take only about 5.6 minutes. They are risking their own necks (and maybe yours and mine as well) just to save less than one minute of driving time. Are they that eager to get to work?
I’ve been dangerously tailgated and even flipped off just for obeying the law. Then there are the drivers who like to turn left in front of you when you’re going 65 (or more). I’ve had to put on my brakes more than once to avoid hitting them.
I’m always glad when I pull into the left turn lane of 395 at Ironwood on my way home. All I have to do is wait for the oncoming traffic and I’m home free. But once this summer a driver on Ironwood pulled out in front of me to turn north on 395 before I could make my turn. I honked to let him know he was out of line, but he just smiled and waved (with all his fingers).
My temporary job is coming to an end soon. It was a good experience overall, but I’ll be happy to go back to watching “Good Morning America” in my pajamas and robe, coffee cup in hand and dog on my lap, and be out of the rat race once again. I hope those other drivers live long enough to enjoy these little perks of retirement.