Life And Death In The Fast Lane


    Driving north on I-5 late at night, between Myrtle Creek and Roseburg, I looked in the rear-view and saw someone coming up behind me, fast, with maybe eight headlamps and fog lights blazing away on high beam - jeeez, what an idiot, I thought.  Turned out to be one of those idiots that get right on your ass, stay there long enough to totally blind you, then suddenly jerk the wheel over and pass, and immediately swerve back right in front of you, spraying road debris all over your car, rocks hitting the windshield, messing up your paint - you know the type, right?

This time I was ready, and as soon as he came up alongside, I tapped on the brake pedal and slowed down enough to get some space between the idiot and me when he swerved back in front.  But holy hell, he was hauling - must have been going at least a hundred, and accelerating, when he passed.  It was one of those giant-ass SUVs, maybe an Expedition or an Escalade or an Escargo - something big, and white.

But even as fast as it was when it flew by, I still had time to notice: there were at least four TV screens all going inside the SUV, on each of the flipped-down sun visors and on the backs of the seats.  Maybe some kind of music video, with people dancing and waving their arms in the air.  And then whoosh - they were gone, gone, gone down the road, around that next bend in the interstate, gone.  Goodbye, good riddance.

Stopped for gas and a cup of coffee in R-Burg; and then about a half hour up the road I saw flashing lights ahead - construction zone? Drug bust? An accident?  I eased up on the gas, and slowly passed the police cars, tow trucks and ambulances clustered on the shoulder and the right lane of the freeway.  And there, on the other side of the steep drainage ditch and past a swath of ripped out fence, brightly lit by the lights of the emergency vehicles, upside down in a field next to the road, was an SUV - a really big white SUV.

It may or may not have been the same big rig that blew past me before, and it was tempting to think: well, if it was, he deserved what he got.  But.  There might have been a whole family in there, and I had to hope that it wasn't as bad as it looked.

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Below are some screen shots of webpages advertising in-car entertainment systems.  I hope all your travels are safe this Holiday season, and as they used to say in driver's ed class, watch out for the other guy, because he may not be watching out for you.  In fact, he might not even be able to see you.


And here's a system that allows both the passenger, and the driver, the choice of watching different DVD movies while they drive; for "safety reasons" (?) the driver has a simplified remote control: