Step 1: Defrost your windshield

With this week’s cold snap, it should take people a little longer to hit the road to ensure plenty of time to have windshields fully defrosted. 

Please don’t be one of those idiots who attempts to drive with a collective 1 square foot of defrosted areas on the windshield.  I nearly got creamed by someone this morning who was weaving all over the road while apparently trying to wipe clean the inside of his/her windshield — the windshield wipers were working furiously on the outside to no avail.  (Note that I was running on the sidewalk and was wearing an OSHA-approved day-glo yellow construction shirt with six 3″ wide bands of reflective material on it, plus a powerful LED headlamp, and reflective material on my hat and shoes.)

My suggestion?  Start your engine and turn on the defroster and heater.  Stand near a window inside your house where you can see your car and use the time while your car is warming up to check your voicemail, e-mails, or to peruse the paper some more; this way, you can keep an eye on your car while the engine is running.  (I could have had no fewer than five free cars this morning while unattended vehicles were rid of their frost.) 

Ha ha, you’re going to jail

I was reading this story today about how the new freeway message boards encouraging drivers to call 911 if they suspect someone is driving under the influence were very effective this holiday season and couldn’t help but wonder.

Has anyone ever called 911 to report a suspected drunk driver? Is it an easy process? If so, I have to think this can really get out of hand in a jif. Get cut off this morning on the W-X? Fix their wagon by dropping the 9-1-1 on their ass! Have a buddy that is always one-upping you? Here’s a way you can have the last word. What about the night club scene? I can see it now. A dude sees a gal that he is really sweet on. He walks over to buy her a drink but is intercepted at the last minute by a larger, buffer dude who closes the deal. They take off together and dude decides to let his fingers do the walking.

But seriously, folks, what’s the deal with this program? If anyone knows the 4-1-1 on the 9-1-1 feel free to drop a comment and get the word out.

Drivers beware!

My brother was first in line at Fry’s this morning to snap up a refurbed GPS for under $200. He has wanted one for a year, even though he knows every street in the county and is the only one I know who can make it from Kennedy to Jesuit during rush hour in a half-hour. (He has his secrets, and won’t share them.)

He is now on his way to the airport, to pick up a friend of ours coming in from Baton Rouge. (I love saying “Baton Rouge.” So much more fun than “Red Stick,” don’t you think?)

“But … you KNOW how to get to the airport,” I said, pointing out the patently obvious. “You’ve been there a million times. Hell, you used to WORK there. You don’t need a computer to tell you the way.”

“Ahh, but does the GPS know how to get there?” he replies. “THAT’s the question!”

I’m going to assume it does, and not bother with an update. Boys and their toys! Sheesh!

What traffic reporters don’t tell you

I’ve long lamented the fact that traffic reports/reporters in this city are almost useless to the regular driver. They don’t help you much really, when you’re already stuck in traffic. They’ll tell you you’re stuck, which you know, but don’t tell you how to get out of it, which you’d like to know. Sometimes, you just gotta learn on your own.

Recently, I found a bit of a “shortcut” – I use quotes because the route is actually a longer way around distance-wise, but it takes less time to travel during rush hour. The culprit that I try to avoid? The I-5 South connection off eastbound 50 coming from West Sacramento.

This is one spot that typically jams up, as the one lane branching off 50 East to I-5 South clogs up. What’s worse, many people won’t let you merge once the traffic comes to a standstill. If you ever find yourself in this scenario, try this solution:
Continue reading “What traffic reporters don’t tell you”