courtesy of ‘philliefan99’
Through a very lucky break I’ve had a free parking pass for my office building over the last month. It’s given me a chance to drive into the office on a regular basis, and to compare that commute to my regular Metro commute. The things I do for you fine readers!
First, let me make it clear: I think that a viable public transit system has to be at the heart of any reasonably sized community. We just cannot afford another half-a-million cars on the road.
Having said that, from time to time (at least once a week) when I ride Metro, I get the urge to drive again. Every time I look at Metro’s site and see “delayed” (as I write this, the Orange and Blue lines are delayed) I want to get in the car and go.
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‘Wanna go for a ride?’
courtesy of ‘warrenski’
Today, local area police are cracking down on High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane violators, aka: you lousy, stinking cheaters, as part of Capitol Region HOV Awareness Day.
So if you’re traveling in an HOV lane during rush hour either by yourself or with a dummy or your imaginary friend Buster, or with a blow up doll as your “other passenger,” you could a face a $90 fine and one point on your Maryland driving record or fines reaching as high as $1,000 and three points on your Virginia record.
Don’t mess with the law. Cheaters.
- Walk in the street.
- Walk in the street two abreast.
- Drive too fast on slick roads.
- Ride your bike like a jackass in these conditions.
- Cross the street against the light.
Let’s be careful out there, folks. Safety is a shared responsibility. I have seen blatantly stupid behavior out there. If you are driving, slow down and accept that traveling will take a little longer for a while. If you are walking, be smart. Walk against traffic, on the sidewalk if you can, and single file. If you are biking, simply try your darndest to follow traffic rules. Those cars you are used to barely not hitting you are going to have a harder time braking in the slush and snow, so don’t bike like a d-bag.
Snowy Bike by dmolsen.
Notice how all that snow is piled on top of this person’s car? Don’t be like that. When you can get out and drive, be sure to clean the snow off your entire car. Two things can result from this type of halfway done snow removal. First, big chunks of ice and snow can fall from your car and into traffic. Annoying, to be sure, and likely to make someone swerve. Maybe not the best reaction, but certainly an understandable one.
Second, if the snow is loose and powdery, it can blow off in traffic and blind other drivers. That’s generally bad too.
On top of this, you will just look like an idiot driving around like that. You are right, it’s not as bad as the even bigger idiots who neglect to clean the snow from all their windows (yes, the back one is important too, people), but still – are people really that lazy? A coworker made the excuse to me that she could not reach the top of her car. I told her she had a size of car to size of body ratio imbalance. If you can’t clean the car off, you shouldn’t be allowed to drive it.
‘South Smithsonian Escalators’
courtesy of ‘william couch’
The DC area, this weekend, was something of a post-apocalyptic landscape. Driving down 395 on Saturday, one would have seen abandoned cars spun out at odd angles and their stranded drivers trudging towards some nameless help. Most residents stayed holed up in their homes, living off of the provisions they had dutifully stocked the day before. Basic commodities were impossible to come by and the majority of services simply shut down. As the snow storm abated, DC residents peered from their homes at the changed landscape, and painstakingly began the cleanup, trying to return to normality.
Ok, sure, that is a bit of an over-dramatization, but seriously, 395 did look like something out of 28 Days Later. This snow, like any snow, threw into sharp relief how woefully unprepared DC area citizens are for wintry weather. So, as a northerner, I take it upon myself to save you all from yourselves before the next snowpocalypse.
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Picture is a bit fuzz and of poor quality, but I caught a DC cop driving through Georgetown, while chatting away on his cell phone sans hands-free device.
Now while I’ll admit to being occasionally guilty of talking on my cell while driving, shouldn’t our cops be exemplars of the code of law? Granted they’re only human, but come on! The least they can obey common laws while on duty, in uniform and driving a police car!
In DC, I’ve seen specific police traps that target motorists on cell phones. In fact, there’s often one not far from where this picture was taken. Surely, this cop has never been a part of those traps or ticketed anyone for cellphone violation that he himself is guilt of. I mean that would just reek of hypocrisy.
A question that occurs to me is: Could another DC Cop ticket this guy for the violation? Of course that would be a blatant violation of the Brotherhood of the Cop, but feasibly is that possible? Can an on duty officer receive a ticket?
Wayne explains more, courtesy of Ford Motor Company
I have to admit–when I think of driving on the George Washington Parkway, fuel efficiency isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. I think more of the feel of the car rolling along the gentle hills and curves, of sneaking glances out at the river and up at the thick green web of leaves, and of blasting the music.
But last Saturday, I got to experience the parkway from a whole new perspective. The crew from the 1,000 Mile Challenge was in town, attempting to eke 1,000 miles from a single tank of gas in a Ford Fusion Hybrid, and world record hypermiler Wayne Gerdes was giving driving lessons.
The idea behind hypermiling is that the way you drive can greatly affect your gas mileage, and that by using special driving techniques you can coax more mileage out of each gallon of gas. Wayne and the Challenge team proved this point nicely. The Challenge began on Saturday morning at Mt. Vernon, with team members driving the Challenge car round the clock. That one tank finally ran out at 1,446 miles.
Meanwhile, I hopped in a replica with Wayne, PR maven Nicole, and a guest from Earth911.com to find out how hypermiling works. Continue reading →