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One of the things I don't like about my current workstyle, that is, working as a contract technical writer, is that I get very little say in where (physically) I work. I pretty much take whatever good work is available at the time I need work, whether the work is close to home or some distance away. Currently, I'm working about 15 miles from home, which should only take about 25 minutes, but can often take 45 minutes to an hour. It's my firm belief that every minute you spend on the highway carries with it a certain percentage risk of accident, and so the more time you spend driving the greater the likelyhood you will be involved in an accident.
Earlier this year I was working very close to home. We live on the very Eastern edge of the city, and I was working a bit further East. It took me about ten minutes driving to work, and could sometimes take 20 coming home if there was traffic heading West into the city for some event. (Not that I'd be in the traffic, but the back ways just don't move at highway speed.) I was spoiled then, and I knew it.
Highway speed is part of the problem. Nearly everyone on the highway during rush hour (who isn't stuck in congestion) wants to go at least 60 miles per hour. Typically on highways headed out of the city, traffic flies along at about 70+ miles per hour. (Speed limits on these roads are usually 55.) Now, I am not now, nor have I ever considered myself, a particularly slow or cautious driver, but this is insane. I try to be as observant as possible, as well as considerate to other drivers, but I drive fast and I take chances. Still, having people flying around me, trying to get ahead, squeezing into gaps, treating their progress as paramount to the smooth flow of traffic, etcetera, really makes me think I'm about to die.
In the past few years I have witnessed the near aftermath of several accidents, witnessed a couple accidents as they happened, and been in a couple of minor bumps and near misses. Every single one of these freaks me out. Nothing drive it further into my mind that it's just a matter of time. The more time you spend on the highway, the closer you get to your inevitable smash-up.
This is of course by way of apology to the poor person I nearly merged into on the way to work this morning. Sorry. Good use of horn there. Hope I see you tomorrow.
2007.11.15 at 11:00am EST
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