On The Road
...Catch the RAGE!
Angry about hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on new high tech tolls, but they never seem to have enough money for the roads? Tired of being sHOVed out of a lane that you paid for, just when you need it the most? Upset someone made you buy a car with an explosive device on the steering wheel? Tired of being treated like a child for not wearing your seat belt? Me too!
But what can we do about it? Well, we can start by getting our own web sites. And if you're lucky, a major newspaper might print the address, people will visit, politicians may notice, and maybe, just maybe, you can get results. It CAN happen! Check out my HOV page.
Citizens Against Tolls
My current project. I have an entire website (www.EndTolls.com) dedicated to it. But in short, tolls the worst way to pay for roads. They waste $billions collecting it. They unfairly double tax a minority of drivers. They increase congestion, pollution, and aggravation. They cause accidents. And they are easily raised and abused - they are taxation without representation. We don't need tolls and we have 34,000 miles of free roads in NJ to prove that. For more, please visit www.EndTolls.com.
The BEST way to pay for roads. People howl when politicians suggest a few cents increase in the gas tax. But how else are we going to pay for roads, Tolls? Just balance what the roads cost with the gas tax and no one can complain.
This is old news in NJ, since HOV lanes were removed in 1998, but I'm leaving a summary online for two reasons: 1) politicians seem doomed to repeat history (...HOV lanes failed on the Parkway in 1982 for the same reasons), and 2) the fight against HOV lanes continues across the USA. I hope NJ's example will help the cause.
It amazes me that anyone can think HOV lanes actually work. They depend on inefficient lane use as the incentive to carpool, they often create hazardous driving situations, they increase congestion for the bulk of traffic in the non-HOV lanes, they unfairly ask a handful of people to solve our congestion problems, and they cost a bundle. And do you really think people carpool to "get there faster"? (...just ask Dagwood Bumstead's carpool). What if you build it, and they don't come?
Anything that explodes with enough force to decapitate children, kill adults, and break the neck of a 280 pound man, has NO business on my steering wheel! These are not the slow motion pillows they show us on TV. Next time you're in your car, look at your steering wheel and think about it exploding at 200 MPH. Air Bags are expensive, they offer nothing over seat belts, and they can kill. But do I have a choice when buying a car?
First, I don't have anything against SUVs when they're used for the right reasons. When I need to get 4x8 sheets of plywood home, boy am I glad I know someone with a truck. Trucks and SUVs are fine when they're being used for what they were designed for - hauling, pulling, plowing, etc. However, most people don't get SUVs for the right reasons. The roads are filled with solo commuters using 3-ton vehicles. What a waste.
What kind of car would Jesus drive?
A working Yugo, because THAT would be a miracle.
Most people whack at SUVs for environmental reasons. But not me, at least anymore. What's the point? We're going to use up all the resources anyway, so why not sooner than later? People can't control themselves, so the only way we're going to use less resources and pollute less is if we are forced. So let's use everything up and pollute the planet to the point where it starts killing us. Only then will we find balance, so enjoy it while we got it.
I'm tired of being environmental. I can't even get people to stop using styrofoam cups, so what chance do I have to get them to do something difficult, like buy an environmentally friendly car? Besides, what am I trying to save the world for - someone else's kids? ...so they can use all the gas I saved for their SUVs? Screw that.
My biggest complaint with SUVs is when people buy them for safety reasons. But SUVs are safer ONLY when they hit something smaller - like people driving environmentally friendly cars. And this applies to all vehicles, not just SUVs. I'm just using SUV as a metaphor (...or simile - I was never good at English). If you buy a bigger vehicle strictly for safety reasons, you're saying: "I don't care if you are injured more in a crash, as long as I'm injured less". It's this "better than you" attitude that pisses me off.
When I bought my last car, a 1995 Mazda Protege, my car did very well in the 35 mph government crash tests - both dummies survived with virtually no injuries. But the dummies in a GMC Jimmy were severely injured, or even killed (...according to the results published in the 1995 Consumers Reports). This means:
95 Jimmy hitting another 95 Jimmy: Server injuries or death.
95 Protege hitting another 95 Protege: Minor or no injuries.
Plus SUVs have their own safety issues, like they tend to roll over easier in certain conditions (See "SUVs in the News" section below, 3/5/99. So our roads would actually be safer if everyone drove 95 Proteges than it would if everyone drove 95 GMC Jimmys. But which vehicle would you rather be in when a Protege hits a Jimmy? Duh - the Jimmy, of course.
According to the 2002 Consumers Reports, newer cars seem to be safer in general. But even though cars like the Honda Civic and Volkswagen Beetle still did better than half the SUVs and every pickup truck, it still won't protect them from the physics of hitting a Lincoln Navigator.
Size only matters when you hit something smaller. But if all cars were smaller, it would be just as safe or safer.
I don't like SUVs because
I don't like driving behind SUVs because it reduces my visibility. It's much safer when you can see what's happening several cars in front of you.
I don't like driving in front of SUVs because the big ones require longer stopping distances.
I don't like driving next to SUVs because being so low compared to them, they might not see me.
I don't like parking next to SUVs because you can't see what's coming until you're fully backed out of the space and into traffic.
Actually, I don't like driving around SUVs at all because they can squash me like a bug.
SUVs in the News
Robert Nixdorff, 35, a certified car buff (Star Ledger Obituary, 3/29/02) - Police say the driver of a sport utility vehicle ran a stop sign and slammed into the side of his 1995 Honda.
My 2¢ - People like to think they get SUVs to protect themselves against bad drivers. But what about bad drivers who get SUVs? Shouldn't the be held more liable for the damage they cause?
Love of SUVs reverses fuel economy (Star Ledger, 12/20/00) - Passenger vehicles for the model year 2000 will average 24 mpg, lowest in 2 decades.
Safest cars will get biggest break (Star Ledger, 11/29/00) - State Farm's revised pricing policies will aid owners of luxury vehicles, vans and SUVs.
My 2¢ - Boy do I have a problem with this. I mainly get insurance to protect myself against damage I do. It's called liability. Why should vehicles that cause more damage get a break?
Led by SUVs, gas guzzlers rule the road (Star Ledger, 10/3/2000) -
SUVs vs. MPG. No longer sure-fire sellers (Star Ledger, 6/22/00) - Auto dealers worry that rising cost of fuel may hurt sport utility sales.
Graphic warning label to be stuck on SUVs (Star Ledger, 3/5/99) - U.S. wants to inform drivers about high risk of rollover in crashes and high-speed curves.
Gas guzzlers selling as pump prices drop. Fuel-efficient cars in less demand (Daily Record, 10/11/98) - With gas selling for $1 a gallon, does anyone care?Gas-guzzling machines reclaim America's roads (Star Ledger, 10/11/98) - Big and brawny stomps small and efficient.