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Thursday, February 2, 2006

Crash Test Dummy

One of these days I'm going to get pulled over. It won't be for speeding. It won't be for failing to signal. And it certainly won't be because I'm not wearing my seatbelt.

The day I get pulled over is the day I am driving illegally in the HOV lane.

I drive the I-65 stretch from Franklin to Nashville every day on my commute to work. Typically, living on the southside of town is great because of the superb traffic flow, numerous lanes for one to utilize, and the abundance aggressive drivers. Aggressive drivers suit me, because I consider myself one. I drive defensively, always aware of what's going on around me, while at a safe, but not turtle-like pace. I'm in control of my vehicle and I expect others to mirror that control in their own vehicles.

Anyway, back to the HOV lane. During mornings of a wreck or other rubber-necking cause, I see a thousand cars lined up bumper-to-bumper in the non-HOV lanes. I look ahead of me along the rolling hills of interstate and I see a vacant HOV lane. What.a.waste.

HOW IS THIS EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT POLICY??? Seriously---if no one is using the HOV lane because we're all SUV-loving pollutants who don't like to carpool, how is that cutting down on traffic congestion? While I think the theory behind the HOV lane is noble, it remains a theory, at least here in middle Tennessee. The darn lane causes even more congestion, if you ask me.

So each morning, I boldly merge into the HOV lane right past the exit at Moore's Lane. You have to wait until you pass Moore's Lane because there is a break and an overlap in the concrete divider in the center of the interstate. The po-po notoriously hides there. Past that point, it's free-sailing HOV until right past the Old Hickory Blvd exit. There's a blind curve, and many a morning, the po-po has been stationed right around it to specifically flag down HOV criminals. When there's a wreck in the area and traffic is already moving slow, you can pretty much guarantee the po-po will be waiting. I've almost gotten caught in this trap several times. In fact, the closest time I escaped a steep fine, the car in front of me got waved over. I was able to fanagle my car at the last second back into the lane to the right. After you pass this checkpoint, you're pretty much home-free. The HOV lane becomes just another lane at 100 Oaks. And then the road turns into six lanes and it's wonderful!

This morning I'm on the phone with a friend of mine and, as usual, I'm complaining about the HOV lane and the po-po. He suggests I buy one of those dummies you can put in your passenger seat to look like you are traveling with another human being. You've seen them...they're always for sale in those airplane magazines full of electronic gadgets and other junk that's supposed to make your life easier, but you quite frankly just don't need. If I wasn't honest gal, I'd say that the thoughts of purchasing a dummy had never crossed my mind. The only thing that's kept me from doing so are the thoughts of getting pulled over and having to explain to the police officer why I have a fake person sitting next to me.

I don't really expect TDOT to scrape up all of those white diamonds littered along the HOV lane anytime soon, but I have no plans to reform my incorrigible ways...


Blogger Amanda said...

Someday soon I will get pulled over- probably for speeding- and I have an expired Driver's License. We're working on getting that corrected though.

5:40 PM

Blogger Mary Anna said...

Correction: I noticed this morning that the HOV lane ends right before Beazer Homes. Even more HOV-free miles!!!

8:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

the HOV lane is exactly like communism. it looks great on paper, but just can't possibly be executed well. unless the TN government is turning to communism...we could be in big trouble!

9:10 AM

Blogger Sarah said...

I've censored myself until now, but I'll be honest: I am angered by the single-passenger users of the HOV lane. I understand your rationale and there are plenty of rules I justify breaking because of their absurdity, but for some reason this one gets to me.

So now you know. If you're ever ridin' HOV alone near me and my gas-guzzler I will shake the claw at you.

P.S. I still really love you, even if you're "one of those" drivers. ;)

10:03 AM

Blogger jillymae said...

i, too, am an HOV violator. oh wait, that's only from 7-9am (still sleeping) and 4-6pm (still working). i'm never on the road during those times! :0)

amanda, you know you can renew your license online, right?

1:11 PM

Blogger Rhonda Lu said...

That news story was too funny!! I use the HOV in emergencies....which rarely happen on the interstate between the hours of 7-9 and 4-6, especially considering I do not commute on the interstate. However, if I were one of those people, it would be a daily moral struggle between HOV good and evil.

11:37 AM

Blogger Rhonda Lu said...

I also meant to add that there was an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" in which the lead character hired a prostitute to ride to and from work with him, so that he could legally use the HOV lane. Funny stuff that show is.

4:30 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was funny stuff! I use the HOV lane myself when I shouldn't- I have even gotten a ticket for it, but I still can't resist.

4:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be careful, I actually do carpool, so I wrote to our government officials and the state rep has asked that they start patrolling twice a day. Also, they are going to install cameras so they can mail you a ticket.

4:14 PM


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