Friday, December 26, 2008

Fancy News from Springfield, Vermont, Home of the Simpsons - A Warning - flashing lights ahead

"Warning - Flashing Lights Ahead - Begin Accelerating Now"
That is what the sign should read as one approaches the urban core of Springfield, Vermont, City of Lights and Official Home of the Simpsons.

This sign would serve to warn drivers of the danger ahead, that when they get to either of two controlled intersections in town they will find the traffic control lights there - set to flash either red or yellow.
The danger lies in the fact that the local convention seems to be that a flashing yellow light is the signal to increase speed and plow through the intersection (the larger the vehicle the faster it should proceed in this), and that a flashing red light is the signal to park the car and wait for anyone to have the class to take turns.
Driving conditions are what they are in the Winter, especially after ice and snow and despite thawing rains - so that allowing the only controlled intersections in town to devolve into utter chaos is wicked silly.

It seems odd, that on frequent passes through town, no police department presence has been seen on the scene of either of the two malfunctioning traffic lights to monitor driver behavior, not even the uniformed person chalking tires was ever anywhere to be seen during this chaos. There was one portly older gentleman seen walking about Main Street late on Saturday afternoon sporting some kind of reflective crossing guard outfit, but he was just lost or looking for attention, and at least one cruiser was seen ziping through the intersection without hesitation.
On the other hand, this presented a golden opportunity to witness machine chaos at any moment - nothing could be more interesting than sitting with a camera at the ready at a strategic place, watching yet another jacked-up SUV or pickup truck or logging truck neatly barrel-assing it's way through the superfluous flashing yellow light. One might sit there knowing that with this degree of bad driving it is very likely that an opportunity will soon occur to capture on film the material ballet of a Subaru in flight. The failure of any cruiser to show the badge and control the intersection was a guarantee of that possibility.

Update - no luck with any flying vehicles, though there was no lack of trucks barreling through the flashing yellow light, loaded for bear and ready to lend motive force to any driver daring enough to make a break for it. The lights are back on a schedule of sorts since Monday, and finally, the police never did anything about monitoring traffic control during the outage.

Hay que ver, que es raro observar malas costumbres en lo que es conducir un coche, en una region donde se acostumbra hasta parar el coche y ceder el paso si hay algun peaton preparando para cruzar el calzado.
En los ultimos dias, y que son dias de mucho hielo y nieve, se ha observado una forma de conducir increible.
En primer lugar, y sin razon obvio (porque no hemos tenido averias en los servicios), los semaforos ya van dos o tres dias pulsando de rojo o amarillo, sin funcionar de control como de costumbre en las dos cruces mas importantes del pueblo (claro, hay varios lugares que precisan semaforos, pero de momento solamente tenemos el orgullo de ser un pueblo de dos semaforos), con el resultado de que de repente la costumbre de muchos conductores es de ir a tope donde se ve el semaforo en amarillo y pulsando (enlugar de ir con cualquier cautela), igual es la costumbre de muchos conductores el "pasar sin nisiquiera mirar", donde hay semaforo pulsando de rojo (esto en lugar de parar el coche por un momento como un "stop" normal) - y en todo caso, cuanto mas grande el vehiculo mas deprisa ha de llevarlo el conductor.

Seguramente vale la pena plantarse uno con camara, preparandose bien donde no le ha de llegar "schrapnel" o fuego, y estar listo para ver estrellarse un camion lleno de troncos de arbol, con un buen Subaru.
Vaya divertido!
Quien se atreve a decir que no hay manera de divertirse en Vermont?