Monday, November 19, 2012

I'm with Sammy...

When I began driving, the speed limit on most Texas highways was 70 mph. Then, like most of the rest of the country, Texas responded to the gas shortages of the 1970s by lowering the limit to 55. In 1984, rocker Sammy Hagar released a song "I can't drive 55." Well, as the number of speeding tickets I have collected over the years will prove, I can't drive 55 either Sammy. 

Some of my friends will argue that driving at speeds over 55 mph results in much less efficient gas mileage and should, therefore be avoided. I'm sorry, while I agree with the issues of caring for our environment and conserving energy whenever and however we can, I just can't make myself drive under posted speed limits. I get frustrated with drivers who slow the rest of us down on highways by not maintaining proper speeds. I have posited the theory that slow driving actually causes more traffic accidents on major highways than does moderately higher speed. When on major highways, we expect other drivers to be travelling at the posted speed limits and, if they are not doing so, that they have the courtesy of driving in the "slow lane." 

When Haime and I first moved back to Texas from California, I worked for Austin ISD for two years and commuted approximately 56 miles each way everyday, (I refer to that as my time in Purgatory-on-earth). The traffic going into and out of Austin was the stuff that road-rage came from. I have driven the highways going into several major cities in several different parts of this country and assure you that I-35 around Austin is the worst. The problem is that there is really just one North-South route into the city. Fortunately, two things have happened. First, I got a job out of Austin and second, the SH-130 opened. SH-130 is a tollway that allows drivers to travel from I-10 (south of Austin and east of San Antonio) to I-35 (north of Georgetown).

Let me clarify. I like Austin. It is a very fun city with tons of great restaurants, eclectic shops, modern buildings, great parks and theater and is just a fun place to visit. It is not a fun place for commuters. In addition, I have family that live north of Austin and prior to SH-130 opening, I visited them only when absolutely necessary. Now with the opening of the tollway, I visit much more often (hee-hee-hee...maybe more than they'd like.) Anyway, for me, the cost of using the tollway is inconsequential when weighed against the frustration I felt when I had to rely on I-35.

Another fun benefit of using the SH-130 is the speed limit. For most of the route, the speed limit is 80 MPH and on the newest leg (the southernmost part), the limit is 85. Whoo-hoo! The biggest problem with the newly opened leg of the road is not the speed, rather, it is the wild hog population in the area. The road takes you through former ranch-land. Like many parts of the southern U.S., wild hog populations in the area are a problem for farmers and ranchers. Now, it seems, they are a problem for drivers as well. Fortunately, (or not), they are mostly nocturnal so daytime driving on the road has not been a problem.

I can tell you that today, as I drove to and from Round Rock to visit my sister Karen, I loved the drive. I was able to circumvent Austin and I assure you I did not drive 55...Sammy would have been proud.



1 comment:

  1. Thank the powers, for cruise control. I can' t drive 55 either, sista.