Statistically Speaking...

I drive daily on congested roadways.  I live in the NYC tristate area.  There is A LOT of traffic.  No surprise there right?  I work approximately 12 miles from my office (door to door).  That drive can take me under 20 minutes (on a good day...most often in the summer when I get early on Fridays) or it can take me 3 or 4 times more.  (Or longer...which is why I don't commute when we're going to have heavy snow.  Thank goodness for remote access!)

The easiest/fastest way to reach my destination is not a direct line.  Although that is possible, it requires taking local streets with lots of traffic lights.  I have done it several times (once when the highway was closed due to a truck fire/fatal accident) and it requires patience.  (Which I seem to have very little of these days.  It's something I need to work on!)  The fastest (usually) and easiest (most times) is the highway.  But it's also a main road that takes you into NYC, so it's almost always very congested.

It also is a pretty straight east/west road.  Which means in the morning you're heading DIRECTLY into the sun...and the same for the evening.  (Except during the winter months when it's dark.)  Sun glare is a major problem.  But then again, so are rain storms (which flood the road), fog and just about anything else you can think of.  A good driving day (in my opinion) is one that is just slightly overcast.  There's no glare and the road is drive.

When I was driving to work on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, there was one thing I didn't see that I see nearly EVERY SINGLE DAY that I commute.  Care to guess what that was?

A car accident...

Yes, just about every single day I see crumpled cars on the shoulder.  I'm not exaggerating here.  I wish I was.

Over the holiday weekend, I, like countless others, will be hitting the road.  Despite the not so great weather on tap, I will be heading for the Jersey Shore.  (This has more to do with checking on my parents and less do with the beach.  Of course, I have also scheduled some sofa shopping time with my mother and am keeping my fingers crossed that I might actually find something that will work in our living room.)  To avoid heavy traffic, I head out early in the morning (much to my son's chagrin). Even at the crack of dawn there will be traffic on the parkway.  Inevitably, somewhere along the road there will be someone weaving in and out of traffic, trying to go faster and make it five minutes earlier. Which brings me to my point.  Memorial Day Weekend is statistically the most dangerous weekend to drive, followed closely by Labor Day and Independence Day.

So let me state the obvious, drive carefully this weekend, no matter where you are headed.  Drive carefully EVERY DAY!  Remember, the most important thing you, as a driver, do is DRIVE.  Your number one focus should be on the road.  Let that phone call go to voice mail.  Ignore that text (it's probably going to annoy you anyway).  Forget the email.  If you can't stand the song on the radio; it will be over soon enough.  If the kids are acting up, do what your parents always threatened, pull over, turn the car around and head home.  (And if that's not possible, at least pull over and give your best angry face.  They'll know you mean business!)  Stay calm (even when that A** cuts into your lane without signaling).  Most importantly stay focused!

Staying focused ISN'T easy.  We all get distracted.  Distraction IS easy.  But do your best to stay focused.

I say this knowing that I am NOT a perfect person.  Knowing that I WILL talk on the phone while I am in the car (hands free).  Knowing that I will change the radio station.  Knowing that I WILL get road rage (and have to force it back down).  I may not do these things today, or even tomorrow, but I WILL and I SHOULDN'T.    But I will TRY to stay focused.  I will remember that getting to that destination safely is more important than any call, text or email.  That going faster doesn't necessarily mean that I will get there sooner.  That I need to breathe, relax and focus.

We all need to!  Breathe!  Relax!  Focus!  And then drive.

Wishing you all a SAFE and happy Memorial Day Weekend.  You want to make memories...not be one.


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