You are following way too close – Back off bucko! Holiday Weekend Open Thread.




Back in the day…….those that rode the rails and sat around  50 gallon can  campfires near train yards and were sometimes called Boxcar Willie’s or other non de plumes like hobos!  Some were young and some were old, some made pals with Railroad Detectives and turned others in so they could continue to ride the rails.  The truth was:  They couldn’t find work and became wayward bums, eating out of old tin cans and begging for food.  During the Depression there were millions of these folks – old soldiers, some missing an arm or leg or worse, some young kids 10 years old, sometime less…..old degenerates with a whiskey bottle in one hand and his other hand in someone else’s coat pocket.. anytime they could.  They lived however by a code however:  Riding the Rails had rules and those that didn’t follow those rules were either mugged, killed or brutalized beyond belief.  No municipality wanted them.  “Keep moving…..was always the rule!”  Don’t try and stay in one town too long or the local police or local busy bodies would find you and ride you out of town on a rail.  Tarred and feathered sometimes.  The Social Contract of the society made sure that no one broke the rules of good behavior.

Fast forward to 2017, Southern California.  The Freeways, Toll Roads, Regional highways and City Streets are loaded with heavy traffic and mostly new cars.  Each new vehicle has been marketed on television for style, speed and conveniences.  Each new  vehicle can be leased or bought out right.  Each vehicle offers new technology enhancements, big ABS brakes sometimes, lots of inter-active Sirius Radio, Car-Net, GPS active searches for stores and consumer based restaurants, Weather reports, auto parking and space alerts and now even emergency stopping for pedestrians or large objects or out of lane changes.  The Toll Road Transponder reads our activity and charges as required….all automatic.  There is an apparent perception that these things make us all safer.  Sadly, all the technology in the world cannot halt the dreaded lack of mechanical knowledge and plain and simple – or common sense.  “Everything you see is – fastest in its class!” “Every vehicle is just so convenient!”

Those of us that remember Driver’s Education in High School…..might recall the rules about backing out of a parking space or garage by looking both ways first.  Now the back up camera does this…but we still have to look or we will hit the speeding skateboarder and pro-bike specialist training for the next enduro.  We also might be remembering the rules about keeping your distance from the car ahead of you to at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.  30 Miles an hour, means keeping at least a three car spacing.  At 80 MPH, that means eight car lengths minimum.  When you come to a stop behind another vehicle, you are supposed to leave 3 to 4 feet distance, in case you foot slips off the brake or the saints and  lord preserve us: that someone doesn’t  hit you from behind, so you won’t hit the guy in front of you with the bounce.  Offering, simple courtesy when someone wants to get out of a commercial or residential driveway when the inconvenience to those behind you is not too great.  Offering the Simple Courtesy, of using your blinker and making sure you have plenty enough space to make the lane change – without endangering someone.

Living in So Cal is a nightmare when it comes to the heavy traffic on the roads because of the variety of different vehicles.  Commercial Trucks continually drop things out and off their cargo doors, wheels, tires and mud flaps.  Toxic juices that can ruin your paint or even worse.  You won’t want to follow any Commercial Truck too closely….that is for sure.  Then you have those very aggressive Big Four Door 4×4 Pick-up Trucks, like Tundras’s, The Rams, The Fords and the GMC/Chevrolet’s.  Many of these nasty folks drive right up on your rear bumper without a thought.  Best thing to do, is just move to the right as soon as possible.  The problem of course is that you still have to deal with a variety of over hyped drivers in vehicles like Toyota Prius, KIA’s, Hundai’s, Honda’s, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus and others that try to push their weight around – when their cars are really not “that fast”, but think they are because some salesperson told them so.  It does not take a FAST CAR to drive dangerously.  In fact, most Corvette, Porsche, Ford Mustangs, Chevy Malibu’s, Challengers and Dodge Chargers,  Ferrari and Lamborghini drivers are actually very polite, leave space – and when they do drive fast….it is usually in a very safe environment.  The new Alfa Romero Gulia is $95 thousands plus tax and license…and isn’t really that fast.  The Jaguars are certainly beautiful….but not very fast either.  The truth of the matter is that certain people total change their personalities when they get behind the wheel.  The aggressive Cadillac drivers take the cake.  The Escalade is a total tank and the women that drive them are generally obnoxious.

When you get right to it, 85% of BMW’s are not that fast.  15% however, are very very fast.  90% of Mercedes are not that fast.  10% however are certainly able to stay with some of the fastest cars on the road.  Each Manufacturer creates a high powered version of each vehicle. However, those special Limited Edition models cost almost double from the base models offered.  Not every one can even afford a Ford Focus RS, or a Golf GTI or high performance Honda for that matter.  The hot marketing and car magazines however sells the product. Someone that buys a big Ford Pick-up soon finds out it doesn’t have 750 HP  and a Shelby Snake on the dash….being fast does not create or guarantee a safe vehicle.  Those that want to buy even a simple Jetta VW, will have to purchase the GLI for just about $8K more……and that may not include 20 inch wheels, navigation or all the new high tech bells and whistles.

So, the story goes like this:  “Can’t we all just get along and get home safe over this long holiday week-end?”  Don’t get on someone’s back bumper at 70 or 80 miles an hour.  Don’t follow someone on a city street with your front bumper ready to kiss the back of the vehicle in front of you.  Treat folks like you would want to be treated!  Occasionally, apologize for your poor inadvertent behavior.  Flash a smile rather than a finger when someone does something stupid.  Treat as many as possible with respect and be grateful when they return the favor!

You are following way too close ……so back off bucko!  We need a new Social Contract for Drivers in So Cal…..keep your distance!

Meanwhile, have a very safe and fun Memorial Day Week-end!





About Ron & Anna Winship

Independent News Producers/Writers and Directors for Parker-Longbow Productions. Independent Programming which includes a broad variety of Political, Entertainment and Professional Personalities. Cutting Edge - a talk the flagship of over 30 URL websites developed or under development. The Winships have been blogging for the Orange Juice since back when nickels had buffalos on them, and men wore onions attached to their belts, because it was the fashion back then.