Submitted to the Cumberland Times news on 12052010
I hope you will once again consider printing an article I have just finished for you to review for print.
Sincerely, John S. Swygert, Cumberland, Maryland
Title for Article:
"Caution on Mosse Curve!"
We all know the menacing strip of highway that decends part of Interstae 68 and if not, please read on.
It has quite a nasty legacy, even when just considering normal good driving conditions, much less when the weather is impairing. As it is reported in the news often concerning; road work there, and tragedy that has repeatedly struck.
Historically speaking this stretch of highway has swiftly become folklore, often soken about amoungst our comunitty.
I am at ease somewhat to see it finally being thoughtfully redesigned with the hopes of removing, or at least improving, and therefore thoroughly addressing, all of its inherent dangers, that, in this mounatinous terrain is always a huge and expensive feat of engineering well worth it in the long run.
The workers really need to be better safeguarded in these areas as well, with the safegurda currently used, they are most often sadly not sufficient and equally often overlooked or diregaurded by drivers passing by.
We far too often hear or read or see on television during the news, that a workcrew has been struck.
One such recent incident was tragic involving a group of bikers apparently riding properly and leisurely as a pack is trained to do, thus insuring the safety of the individual by protecting one another by strategi placement and typicall prederminable behaviour on the road of the people in the pack of motorcycle.
Read what can happen at this link aboubt this tragic accident of a speeding car running into a pack of motorcycles.
The comparison I am making here is that a group of less protected people in close proximity to cars traveling fast and out of control is simply an equation for tragic disaster as that story so horrifically displays.
So again, these workers need the best of safeguards in any area in which they work, and while being more exposed as individuals working, the speed limits there should be slow, strict, and enforced well.
Let's be safe as we share this Holiday Season, excluding no one.
This change and redesign of "Moose Curve" should bring greater safety, however this change only came with the highest price already being paid before it was realized such change was even needed or how inherently dangerous this unassuming road appears.
Continual tragedy, often with the highest price paid, human life, is something we can all participate in changing for the better by simply driving the speed limit dilgently in such difficult ares especially.
There are currently construction markers present as we (my fiance and I) drive this strip daily, and they to are changing as the work progresses, usually daily as well.
I have always been a car enthusiast, but I realized today exactly why speed kills.
This was a revelation to a deeper degree for me today then ever before, NOT AT ALL as to say it was something I had no awareness of at all, I just never considered the speed factor along with a real life situation such as I have on a personal level, until now.
So, I decide this night coming home from LaVale to Cumberland, instead of my typical tactic of driving with the speed of traffic (which has its own merits and downfalls) I instead decide that I would instead alter my style very strictly and drive in the slow lane as it looked safe ahead and behind and on all sides as made visible by my mirrors.
Moving eastward down Interstae 68 towards Moose Curve, while although being attentive to my driving the exact posted speed limit, both well before the curve and appoaching the curve, and then being even more extra special while manuevering the curve itself.
An ounce of prevention, after all, is worth a pound of cure. What is life worth?..., at least a few more signs and safety features even more well thought out.
So I am in the slow lane, traveling as directed at the proper speed limit safely and in full control and a truck, certainly going at least 80 M.P.H., flew by me while I drove in a 45 M.P.H. zone, with workman present in an area only gurarded by sybolic strategic oarnge cones and reflective barrels, that would offer these men no further protection other then to signify that it is a work zone and to proceed with caution...to be read ...LESS GUARDED LIVES AT WORK HERE TO IMPROVE YOURS AND THEIR CHANCE OF SURVIVAL...DRIVE SLOWLY AND CAUTIOUSLY.
It seems these symbols are all too often today ignored by the fast pace of life Ihave personally escaped from when moving here from Alexandria, Virginia ten tears ago.
The reason why speed kills, is this.
Had that ignorant selfish driver going 80 M.P.H. in a huge full size suv at a minimum while driving by me, and while were now in an area where the lanes have quick shifts a few times in rapid succession.
This is surely temporary, but appears to still be marked at too fast a speed limit which I drove thankfully, while the other driver drove oblivious to the law.
Sure enough the speeding truck passed me and then was in front of me already having passed by me laterally, he still entered my intentional defensive driving safety zone I left around myself, and he then, due to his inertia in the curve produced by the speed and centrifugal force combined, caused him to immediately, drift directly about 70% into my lane and comfort zone of safety.
This left him only 25 feet or less in front of me and not in control, as it was so obvious to see as the truck rolled the way of centrifugal force thus pulling it into my lane.
Knowledge properly applied, is wisdom, and is power not abused and changes outcomes, and therfore promotes further wisdom and the cycle repeats to propel us forward in our every aspect of life where we aplly this application.
To those working on this project, if not already done, please make provisions to post large, attention getting signs in areas spaced appropraitely perhaps in the outline I suggest below.
Early warning, makes for preperation, and a lesser likelyhood of tragedy, and the stretch of road is dangerous very far before, "Moose Curve".
So a decison I made just merely seconds before I started to exercise it in what I only perceived as a safe simple experiment may have saved my life as quick as it was thought of by me on this particular evening.
I smell the brakes in the city all the time, even still, when below the area under the interstate such as driving anywhere near I will use Green Street for this most notable example. this, I am certain is a daily occurencefrom my odiferous observations.
Reading this today should simply urge you to urge yourself and urge others by sharing this concept often with one another so that we collectively drive especially safe (meaning safer then what is the considered norm) in this dangerous stretch off highway.
We should also do even more to place better safeguards for these men and women working in these most prone areas of immediate danger.
The often over looked or less expalined feature which should be more the focus is that it is speed that causes most of this tragedy. Add cetifugal force into the equation, and the equation become quantifiably and exponentailly more possibly to likely end in a much larger tragedy, as the math of physics as applied prove, as well as such unfortunate scenes left after the fact in real life.
Speed kills has become so cliche, I think it is not often understood truly, and is often overlooked.
To Affect change, we must collectively understand an issue and then make adjustments to whatever that issue is so that it will best promote prosperity and promote continued good will, peace, and safety.
Ponder my situation of a night ago..I did this properly and carefully for the first time in this manner ever driving this stretch of road (my usual rule was to stay with the flow of traffic, and what if those in front of you make a misteke?) (it is highly likely in an area such as "Moose Curve".) We know the expected all to often outcome.
I am thankful for the intuition I had that evening. I think if a full size truck would have hit me in any manner in my 1989 litlle tiny Honda Prelude, the results would have been horrific, like we too often have seen there at "Moose Curve".
I would like to make a suggestion, in case in this current processm this has not yet been explored and cotracted, but still has time and essence in which to be considered.
We could have:
Flashing lights posting the approacing drivers speeds well before the troubled area.
A secondary idea to compliment the above as described: post alarming warnings such as, "Huge Lighted Caution Signs", spaced just correctly apart to read individually, as to insure no part of the warnig is missed, that would say:
1. "SLOW DOWN - DANGER
"STEEP WINDING GRADE"
, then followed by another yellow sign with black writing such as the first that says,
2. " DOWNHILL SPEED AND BRAKING
COMBINED WITH SPEED IMPAIRS BRAKING ABILITY"
3. " ESPECIALLY ON DANGEROUROUS DECENTS
THAT YOU ARE APPROACHING"
4. "THE SPLIT SECOND SAVED BY SLOWER SPEED
IS THE SPLIT SECOND THAT SAVES
5. YOUR DECISION STARTS NOW - TRAVEL WISELY - SLOW DOWN"
Well anyway, I think this philosophy saved my life tonight.
So I thought I would pass along my story hoping that it makes the stretch of raod an even safer place, as we all drive though the area more safely, perhaps keeping what I did on this special night that kept me out of tragedy.
John S. Swygert