We had a rude awakening today.
I’m not exactly sure what categorizes the East as opposed to the West. It’s partially the humidity, the prevalence of vegetation and water everywhere, the lack of straight roads, the slight shift of social etiquette, the change of culture, etc. We will call it official when we cross the Mississippi.
But there is one thing that stood out on this day that is a sure sign we are getting into higher population areas.
Put bluntly: “Crazy drivers.”
No offense to the good drivers all over the east. But honestly, we have not had one single problem with drivers since we left California. That’s no exaggeration, and we have been on roads almost exclusively since we got out of the Rockies!
I’m not sure why when the roads are straighter and visibility is much farther, drivers are more courteous. They always waited patiently to go around us when the coast was clear, gave us every bit of space they could- even an entire lane if there were two lanes, never crowded us, and always drove by slowly and carefully. Even in the middle of towns when you expect there to be some who don’t care- EVERYONE was polite. Applause from us to all drivers in Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Kansas who passed us on the road. But when roads suddenly change to curvy, hilly, short visibility, and with lots and lots of blind corners and blind hills- people drive like they never went to driver’s ed!
A moment on my soapbox…. In case people don’t know: if there is an obstacle of any sort in YOUR lane ie; a box, a police car, a pedestrian, a tree limb, a slow moving vehicle, a HORSE- you must either wait for any oncoming traffic to pass and then go around, OR drive slowly behind until there is visibility far enough that you can safely determine there are no cars coming the other direction and go around. I’m not sure where some drivers learned that they can just go around at any time- on a blind corner or a hill that you can’t see over for instance- and just expect that the oncoming traffic will screech to a halt or pull off the road to let them pass the obstacle in THEIR lane! Horses do after all, have the RIGHT OF WAY in the entire nation! …. stepping down…..
…. and blood pressure’s coming back down….. no offense to any readers- it’s unlikely you were behind the wheel of any of these insane suicidal drivers! Thankfully, California gave us a good education on offensive riding. So now we are back to wearing our bright colors on the more dangerous roads, listening intently for vehicles coming and for the sounds of their motors slowing down… or not, taking up an entire lane when there is no safe place for us to bale off to so that people must go around rather than squeeze by, watching ahead for driveways and such that we can get off the road if someone is determined to run us over, and posting one of us behind to alert cars on blind corners and blind hills. It shocked us how suddenly the driving habits changed, and while it still annoys us, we are much better prepared for dealing with bad drivers. We could have kicked several cars today, not to mention literally reached in to a trailer truck driver and grab him by the collar to yell at him for his wreckless driving. I still remember his face. Yeah, that’s how close they were. So now that we are over our shock, we are back in the mode to ride offensively and defensively- expecting no respect from drivers anymore to keep ourselves and our animal companions from becoming “pancaked.”
So please, pray for our safety on the roads from here on out, as trails that go in our direction are few and far between, and dirt roads will become that way soon. And for any lead foot drivers (myself included), please leave home a couple minutes earlier just in case there’s anyone like us out there on the roads.