Jim Furlong: Move Over!

Jim Furlong: Move Over!

I remember telling you a year or more ago that I no longer drove the Outer Ring Road in St. John’s when it was raining because that road, when wet, was simply too dangerous.

There are ruts in the Outer Ring that make it look like the old Oregon Trail covered wagon route across the United States. You can still see remnants of the Oregon Trail in places. 

What caused the ruts in the Outer Ring? Some say studded tires are the culprit. Others blame the road construction itself and the materials used. Some say it is nothing more complicated than the endless freeze and thaw cycle of the Avalon Peninsula. 

None of that matters for me today because I am here to tell you I have stopped driving the Outer Ring altogether. The reason is speed. Somehow when we weren’t looking, people started driving fast as a habit, rather than an isolated event. 

Now, I was a big fan of the Outer Ring. You may remember the controversy during the planning and construction when opponents of the road had a formal protest committee and said the road would interfere with the habitat of the squirrels and the rabbits in Pippy Park. Now, as a commuter I didn’t give a damn about the squirrels or the rabbits. They didn’t have to drive late to work for an hour and a half via Kenmount Road. The Outer Ring was a welcome relief to me. 

Somewhere since that time bad things happened. The road deteriorated and the unofficial speed limit went up. Now a speed of 125 kph is not an aberration. It has become the norm. I travel at 100 and cars and trucks just fly by me. As a matter of fact, I sometimes get those stares from motorists who think that by driving the speed limit I am somehow going too slowly. 

What is My Move?

Some weeks ago, one of those big chrome tricked out pickups passed me like I was standing still. How our paths cross is that the Outer Ring east and west has a whole bunch of roads that feed into it. You are supposed to move over into the left lane if possible to allow traffic to enter into the road seamlessly. Well the problem is that if I am only going a hundred and I move over into the left lane, drivers in that lane behind me have to brake to accommodate me driving at 100 kph. 

Well what is my move here? Should I go 125 kph so I can blend in better with the traffic on the road and keep drivers from scowling at me? 

My solution, instead of moving out to the left and then moving back again to the right is to get the hell off the road. I have done just that. 

Pop quiz! Name three things not on the Outer Ring Road. Rabbits, squirrels and me.  

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