When Paraglide editor Sandy Aubrey told me that I had the commentary for this week, I had no idea what I would write about, considering I had written about the arrival of fall two weeks ago and all other observances had been covered.
So instead of writing aimlessly about a subject that had no significance on Thursday, I decided to do what any seasoned journalist would do — wait and let the subject come to me.
In the midst of a rainy Monday morning drive, it did.
It was 6 a.m. and time for my most dreaded daily ritual — the commute to Fort Bragg. The difference between this morning and any other is that I decided to get to Callahan Athletic Center early, so that I could hit the weights before doing my cardio workout on the treadmill. So I left the house at 6:35 a.m., turned onto Cliffdale Road and found my revelation — drivers who refuse to slow down while driving in inclement weather.
Cliffdale Road has become Fayetteville’s version of the Indianapolis 500. The posted speed limit is 50 mph, but at any given time, you could see drivers traveling about 40 mph over that limit, despite the heavy traffic flow during the rush hour.
I travel Cliffdale Road at least twice each day and each morning brings something new and different. However, times have changed in recent years.
When I first started driving years ago, it was the young, male drivers who were known as speed demons. In fact, I will admit that when I was younger, I may have pushed my vehicle to the limit on occasion, but only on the interstate, not in rush hour traffic.
However, in current day traffic, it’s not the male drivers who drive the fastest, it is the women. I have seen women-driven vehicles zip between three or four slower moving cars and accelerate to at least 70 mph — all before reaching the Reilly Road intersection. That’s about a two-mile stretch of highway.
Believe me when I tell you, these sisters have no problem putting the pedal to the metal as they travel to work in the morning.
On one particular morning, I was passed by a Chevy Equinox, which proceeded to tailgate a larger Tahoe for about a mile, before swerving to the left and squeezing into the one car length gap that I had left between my vehicle and the vehicle in front of me. Once that driver saw a minimal opening in her previous lane, she took it and accelerated for another mile before stopping for the traffic light at Reilly Road. The funny thing about that scenario was that the cars that she worked so hard to pass continued through the light at Reilly Road, as she sat there waiting to turn.
In another incident, After turning on to Morganton Road from Reilly Road, the driver of a blue Chrysler PT Cruiser took off at a high rate of speed and continued to speed until swerving in front of a cement truck in just enough time to make the left turn on Bonanza Drive. It wasn’t until I was beside her at the traffic light at Santa Fe and Yadkin that I noticed the long hair and lipstick.
The All American expressway serves as another HSC (high-speed commuter) route for the speed-obsessed during the evening commute. About a month ago, as I was driving home and passing the Santa Fe interchange, when this “lady” in a BMW M5 was coming down the on-ramp to the All American. I was traveling in the right lane, as there were two vehicles to my left. I saw her as she tried to enter the expressway and even slowed down for the vehicle in front of her to merge into the flow of traffic.
Normally, I would move over to the left lane to allow the right-of-way to traffic entering the highway, but the vehicles to my left prevented me from doing so. Despite that, the BMW driver and I were traveling at the same speed, which didn’t matter to her as she attempted to swerve into my lane. Thankfully, she applied her brakes at the last second, avoiding what could’ve been a very bad accident.
What wasn’t a smart decision was when she exercised her right to offer a one-finger salute to me after she drove past me. I will say that in my youthful days, this situation could’ve gone from bad to worst in a matter of seconds. However, being the responsible man with kids in college and bills to pay, I chilled and “kindly” waved back at her as I exited the highway onto Cliffdale Road.
Besides, I needed to clear my mind to prepare for my drive on Cliffdale Road, which was sure to be another adventure.
My advice to the ladies and gentlemen of Fort Bragg — slow down, take your time and enjoy the ride.
By doing so, you’ll ease your stress levels, find yourselves in a better mood throughout the day and quite possibly avoid an accident in the process.
Until next time, I’m out.