Opinion: Stop Blaming the Poor Road For Your Bad Driving

BURLINGTON – Hey Road. Yeah you. I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re too wide. You need to go on a diet. Immediately.

For decades, engineers have been adding to your width in an attempt to help people behind the wheel stay in their lane and quit crashing into things. It worked, too! Apparently, people are now so incompetent behind the wheel they need the pavement equivalent of bowling lane bumpers to keep from ricocheting off of other objects. Widening roads reduced crashes (yay!) but created other problems: greater risk for people walking (opposite of yay) and increased speeding.

My dude, you need to go on the straight and narrow. I’m sorry, but it’s time. Your current dimensions are making it really dangerous for people to walk across you. Because you know those drivers who can’t get their syrup together enough to stay in their own lane? Yeah, those same folks are encountering you at a crosswalk or an intersection and basically exhibiting the same level of brilliance there as well. People behind the wheel are basically and deeply incompetent, so the less amount of road a person has to cross when they’re on foot, the less chance they’ll have of being struck by a car. Road, ditch that “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt, and have higher standards for yourself! You deserve better!

And I get it, cars are getting way too fat also. It’s not all your fault! Do people really need a vehicle with the same approximate width as Lake Champlain? But that same lane width that prevents people from driving into things also encourages people to drive faster, since they don’t have to drive in, technically speaking, a straight line anymore. And you may be surprised to know this, but getting hit by something going faster hurts more! This is why we have so few tortoise-related injuries. So put on those wonderful “bump outs” you hardly ever wear and slow folks down.

Road diets are not just another crash diet fad. In fact they’re the opposite! Narrowing the road at strategic spots REDUCES crashes! Unless, you know, you suck at driving. Like, you know, most people.

We get it. There’s backlash. Your fat friends stop inviting you out. You get judged. Like when you actually tried to slim down over on St. Paul Street to try and look killer without being killer. And people got mad. But we sent a nervous, unconfident driver with an admitted lack of skill through this intersection. The test subject had heard those rumors about this intersection being unusable, and was pretty worried about the whole thing. To their shock—there was plenty of room to turn, they did not crash into the curb, and they continued on their merry way–albeit more than a little concerned about the competence of their fellow drivers.

Road, it’s clear that folks are not used to driving on right-sized roads. We’ve even got photographic evidence! Look at this photo by admitted liar The Winooski! This truck’s tires are on the double-yellow, and there’s three (3!) whole feet of space between this truck and the curb. Avoiding invisible zombies, or poor lane positioning skills? We’ll never know.

This is who we’re sharing the road with, folks. It’s time that we Make America Drive Well Again. Road, it’s time to pull yourself together. Literally. It’s the only way they’ll learn.

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