Thursday, May 19, 2011

It’s a wonder there aren’t more auto accidents in the construction zones

Technically, I might be confessing to an act that is not quite legal. Although it is one that would have gotten me killed had I not done it.

What I’m talking about was a trip I made Wednesday morning to Joliet (to handle a reporter-type person assignment that paid a few bucks). From where I was early in the day, the route I used was a trip along Interstate 80 west to that city at the far southwest corner of the metropolitan area.

ONCE I CROSSED over the county line into Will County, the road became a mess of construction zones. It was so congested at points that I literally got off the road around New Lenox and used U.S. Route 30 (the Lincoln Highway) to get there.

Of course, a packed interstate highway with fewer-than-usual lanes didn’t mean that people didn’t drive like crazy.

There literally was one point when “80” was narrowed to two lanes with special signs re-setting the speed limit to 45 miles per hour. Yet I was doing 55 just to keep up with the vehicles ahead of me, and I had a mini-van bearing down on me from behind.

I also got to see one moment ahead of me where a car transferred lanes to get just ahead of the van that was ahead of me. The driver of that van immediately shifted lanes, sped ahead of that car, then shifted back ahead of him.

I’M PRETTY SURE I also saw an obscene gesture or two flung about.

Considering that it was raining Wednesday morning in the Chicago metro area – which made the roads slicker than usual – I can’t help but think that this was a particularly silly time for too-fast driving and people getting arrogant.

Particularly since construction work was taking place around us. My car sped along the interstate, at points coming within three feet (my guess) of construction workers.

Now I realize that so long as drivers don’t do anything unexpected, the construction workers are knowledgeable enough to know where they can stand and where they can’t while cars whiz by.

BUT THERE LITERALLY are too many people who seem too anxious to pull the unexpected. Which is why I wasn’t the least bit surprised when, later on Wednesday, I saw a story on the Internet about a fatal auto accident on Interstate 80.

Actually, right where that interstate meets up with Interstate 355 (a point that I passed by earlier in the day and where traffic seemed particularly messy). We probably should be surprised only by the fact that there was only one auto fatality on Wednesday – at least as far as I know.

Although this one was particularly grisly – a car was hit from behind by a semi-truck, causing it to spin out of control into the other lane, where it was then run over by another semi-truck.

Ouch!!! It makes me glad that I took the entirety of the Lincoln Highway from Joliet back into Cook County when I returned home.

I DON’T KNOW who is to blame for this particular incident. I just wonder how many more incidents we’re going to see this summer.

Then again, maybe I’m just being a little overly sensitive on account of the fact I had to do a “traffic safety school” session a few weeks ago to work off a traffic ticket and prevent it from becoming a part of my (drumroll, please) permanent record.

But we’re in that time of year when government entities hire contractors to do serious road repairs, including along the Interstate highways. I wish more motorists would be mindful of that fact.

Not that danger can be avoided by not getting behind the wheel of a car. I also noticed the police beat piece of reporting out of north suburban Evanston, where a cab driver died Wednesday. He had been shot in the head, and his taxi rolled into a parked vehicle earlier this week. A double ouch!!!


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