Embracing Rush Hour

With so many people and (lately) nations agreeing that we have to reduce our carbon output to preserve life as we know it on this planet,  it is reasonable to expect that we will all be driving less in the future.

Except that there’s no way we’re going to be driving less.

Humans, especially American humans, are too much in love with their cars and the ease of personalized combustion-engine-powered travel to give up these convenient machines anytime soon.

Technology may make our cars “cleaner”, though even the most advanced electric vehicles simply trade emissions created at the tailpipe to emissions created at the power plant.

And while computer-driven cars will certainly be more fuel efficient thanks to the removal of the lead foot from the equation, there is some thought that unless we get the laws right, autonomous vehicle technology could result in more miles traveled (and gas burned), not less.

Here’s a startling look at Rush Hour from a director named Fernando Livschitz and his company, Black Sheep Films.  Livschitz did the opening credits sequence to Stephen Colbert’s new show on CBS.

RUSH HOUR from Black Sheep Films on Vimeo.

Hilarious and terrifying, in that it feels like someone is going to die but you’ve gotta love the music and the timing.

Describe a close call you had on the roadway. 

33 thoughts on “Embracing Rush Hour”

  1. While driving East on Interstate 94 fom Bismarck to Fargo late one evening, a vehicle going west toward Bismarck was continually flashing it’s brights at me. I thought “what a jerk” and promptly flashed him back. All of a sudden a car swept passed me in my passing lane. A quick mathematical formula about the energy released from a head on collision with one car doing 100 mph and the other doing 65, flashed in mind. Then I thought about how quickly I’d judged “the jerk.” Then my heart slowed down a little.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A year ago I turned left from a parking lot to enter a street. Within seconds it was obvious that I was driving the wrong direction in a divided highway. A dozen or so cars were rushing right at me. Where I needed to go was into the lanes headed the right way, but a concrete barrier divided the road, keeping me confined in the wrong lane. I gunned the engine and bounced over the barrier, grinding my car’s underside as I went over.

    Streets and roads, as I’ve noted before, are not arranged in neat, predictable ways in this area. There are far more one-way streets, and they are not marked as well as in the Midwest. I recently went back to the spot where I turned the wrong way and drove against traffic. There was a sign saying Right Turn Only. A leafy tree had grown big enough to cover the sign.

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  3. I have had a few close calls due to losing control of my vehicle on ice roads. One of the scariest moments occurred after I had been pulled out of the ditch by a wrecker. When the wrecker left, I pulled slowly onto the very icy road without making sure that the road was clear of traffic.

    Just after I pulled out moving very slowly on the ice covered road I saw a car coming up behind me that I had failed to notice before I pulled out. Some how that driver managed to get around me without spinning out on the ice. That was a case of being very stupid and very lucky.

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    1. My icy road scare came at the bottom of an on ramp. Didn’t realize it was glare ice there until I was spinning around in circles. Wound up on the side of the freeway (all the way to the side, thankfully) pointing towards oncoming rush hour traffic. I then foolishly decided the way to turn around was not to try to do a u-turn into traffic, but to turn into the slight ditch on the side of the road…which was full of snow…and promptly got myself stuck well and good. Needed a tow to get out. Got a lecture from the trooper who stopped about being patient and waiting for a break in traffic (the way it had been coming, I might have sat there for ah hour or more…which was slightly longer than waiting for the tow). I am still, a couple decades on, very careful on icy days on any sort of freeway on ramp.

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  4. For the most part I have managed to avoid daily rush hour driving by taking the bus. The close call that comes to mind was not during a rush hour, but in the middle of the day on South Robert Street, a busy street that runs through West St. Paul where all the big box stores and chain restaurants are. There are two lanes of traffic each way and a shared left turn lane down the middle. I was in the left turn lane waiting for a break in the traffic when a car came straight at me, head-on, and screeched to a halt in front of me. It was a rather helpless feeling – if your car is moving, you can swerve, but if you’re at a standstill there’s not much you can do. I just froze. I could plainly see the other driver, an elderly man. He blared his horn at me furiously, then swerved around me and passed on my left, back in a normal traffic lane. The weather was warm and there was no snow or ice, so I don’t know why he didn’t see the lane markings on the pavement, but maybe he needed to give up his license.

    For a long time after that, I avoided Robert Street. People drive too fast there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I realize that Dale already said the Rush Hour video was terrifying, but I need to repeat… the Rush Hour video was TERRIFYING! Yikes, my heart rate is way up after watching this.

    My close call was on 94, about 30 minutes east of the Twin Cities at 4:30 a.m. on a wintery morning. Had both the dogs in the car (on my way to St. Louis) and was unaware that the precipitation was pretty much all ice since I’d left home at 4. Hit a slippery patch did two complete spins before I came to a stop – about 2 inches from the guard rail. Luckily the only car I could see was ahead of me – if it had been later in the morning it would have probably been a disaster.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a good ice experience there too
      sow cars in the median with their windshield fogged up (obviously they had just recently gone into the median. we were whipping along at 70 mph at 6 in the morning heading for a wedding reception in Milwaukee with my first wife (24 hours or so into the marriage)behind the wheel. when I realized the cars on the roadside were here because we were traveling on glare ice I freaked and loudly exclaimed ” we are on glare ice!!!!!. she in turn stomped the brakes instead of simply taking her foot off the gas and we went into a spin at 70 mph that continued to the left … bring it back to the right…..then back to the left… back to the right…. we lucked out and hit a very gentle slope on the median ditch going 65 or so and snow plowed to a stop. we simply pulled out switched drivers (she was in shock) and drove real slow (5 mph) 3 or 4 miles to Menominee for coffee until they had time to salt the roads.
      then onto our honeymoon where we had the airplane story to add to our short marriage experience.
      come to think of it maybe that should have been a clue as to how the marriage would turn out.

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  6. I have driven many miles for many years and have boatloads of great stories. the video is very much like every day traffic in China and thailand. they are nuts. if you have ever been in line where the little Chinese lady pushes to get in front of you it is part of their culture. if you don’t go you will be her forever.
    my stories come to mind with ice floods going down mountainsides in almost straight vertical position. as a parent I hope my children never get into the situations I have gotten into. just last year I d the front and rear tires becaise the tread was much better on the rear. front wheel drive and better braking seemed to make that a logical move. next day icy roads had me driving around a gentle curve in the road. with no tread on back tires they came sliding around in front of me doing a 360 as I prepared to stomp the gas as I came around to continue on in my starsky and hutch turn mode . new tires purchased the next day. I drove 30 mph the rest of the trip.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Morning–
    I already talked about the icy road, the tractor, the cliff and the trees.

    About 3 miles from our place, an area that’s all developed now, but 30 years ago was wide open farmland. Driving home one night in a snowstorm I hit a complete whiteout– I couldn’t see anything and had no idea if I was still on the road and was waiting for the dreaded feeling of the car going into the ditch. That went on for 150, 200 yards. Felt like 10 miles. Finally I came to the shelter of a farmstead and the road was clear again. And there was enough trees and shelter the rest of the way home I didn’t have any more trouble.

    The other day daughter and I were on the 4 wheeler taking the dogs for a run. Back in the yard and I was doing donuts. Daughter and I giggled as it was great fun.
    I did that in a car with my son 20 years ago and he DID NOT like that. He doesn’t like roller coasters or rides that go in the air either. Daughter, she’s a daredevil…

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I drove in whiteout conditions just once. I was coming home from Colorado just a few minutes ahead of the Halloween Blizzard of 1991. I kept ahead of the storm until I turned north at Des Moines. Then the storm caught me. From Albert Lea to Mpls it was all whiteout . . . I couldn’t see anything in front of or behind me. The blizzard filled the air with snow, and soon my windshield was covered in ice. I was stuck in the right hand lane on I-35, as there were two deep ruts there. I couldn’t get out of the ruts. If I stopped or slowed down I risked being whacked by the cars following me. Around Buck Hill there were strong lights and I finally could see an exit lane where I could pull off and clean the windshield.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yikes, that video is something else! Tim is right, traffic in China is unbelievable; merely crossing the street as a pedestrian is a harrowing experience. I sometimes wondered whether the Chinese drivers took extra pleasure in scaring the daylights out of a couple of white women.

    Just reading the baboon stories about driving in icy and/or whiteout conditions is enough to send chills down my spine. Thankfully, I no longer have to drive if the weather is bad, and I avoid rush hour traffic at all costs. For twelve years I commuted back and forth between St. Paul and Minneapolis on I-94 during morning and evening rush hour. The stress of it has taken years off my life, I’m sure. I’m grateful that this was before texting and driving became a thing or I might already be dead.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m now the owner of a 2008 PT Cruiser Touring. Bought it from a friend, who had bought it new for his 75 year old mother, who is now in a nursing home due to dementia. The car has only 22,000 miles on it.

        I haven’t sold my SAAB as yet, wanted to make sure I liked the Cruiser before I got rid of it. Hope to sell it within the next couple of weeks.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. As little as I drive, Jacque, it was important to me not to have car payments, so I wanted whatever vehicle I bought to be in a price range where I could pay cash for it.

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  10. The worst one I remember happened in Winona – I was the first car at a stop light crossing Hwy. 61 with the Little Buddy (2 yrs) in the van. When it turned green I started to go, but something made me look again to the left – I slammed the brake back on as a semi barreled through his red light at 60 mph. If I’d been half a second slower braking, we would have been toast. We crossed the intersection, but then I pulled over to get myself back together before continuing.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rise and Scream in Terror Baboons!

    Wow, that is a sobering video–is it speeded up from real time? It looks like it to me.

    We are back in AZ and just got our internet turned back on–a horrific experience in itself! Century Link’s customer service is little better than Qwest’s was–imagine that! Just changing your company’s name won’t solve the CS problems. HMMMM.

    But the location leads me to the traffic story. In Jan 2009 we were visiting our kids in Phoenix, and headed back to where we were staying at sunset. As we came around the curve on the freeway, a BMW was stalled in the middle lane of the 5 lanes of traffic. A man got out of the car to attempt PUSHING it out of the full-speed traffic. Lou slammed on the brakes and stopped the car about 6 feet from its bumper. And then we were rear-ended by a teen driver in the family van. She was going to Subway to get sandwiches for supper. We pulled over, got out, and I noticed an SUV pushing the stalled vehicle off the road and onto an exit lane. Then the police came and I did not see anymore.

    Later the attending policeman, who was everything the police should be, told us that the BMW was abandoned at the gas station at the end of the exit. They searched the registration and found it registered to a PO box, which is illegal in Arizona. After 9 months the cops found that this was a crime car–smuggling drugs or guns or who knows what. The entire thing was terrifying. Had it been another time we would have been run down by a semi because the sight-line coming around the freeway curve was short.

    But here I am to tell about it. And I will add, the traffic in Phoenix is intimidating. A speed less than 80MPH is insufficient for most drivers. Rapid lane changes are routine. Uff Da.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That reminds me of a time Kelly and I were down in that area. I don’t recall if it was in Phoenix or one of the suburbs but I’m driving, Kelly’s navigating from the paper map. We’re in the middle of 5 lanes of traffic trying to make a left hand turn to an on ramp, when I realized I was turning INTO the wrong lanes.
      We all screamed as we were sure we were going to die. Eventually shifted across traffic into the correct lanes and laughed ourselves silly.
      We still talk about that one.

      My farmer friend Jerome, ride in a car with him driving and he will often say, in this very calm, quiet, deadpan voice “Hang on to your socks”… and step on the gas.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Last summer I nearly hit a car when the driver went through the intersection at high speed as the light was turning from yellow to red. I was starting to make a left turn and I couldn’t see him coming because there was a car between him and me in the other lane on his side of the road that had stopped for the light. I often see people in the Twin Cities speeding up to make it through an intersection before the light turns from yellow to red or even going through right after the light changes to red. What are they thinking?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see that so many times, Jim, it isn’t funny. Those drivers seem to have no regard for other drivers or pedestrians of cyclists. When I walk to my local library, I have to cross a fairly busy street where you have to push the “walk” button (this is despite the fact that there are tons of pedestrian at this crossing). One day, several years ago, I had just picked up my books at the library and had pushed the walk button to cross the street. I waited and waited for the Walk signal to turn on…and when it finally did, it took me a couple seconds before I realized it was on. Good thing I was daydreaming, because some idiot decided he HAD to make it through that light – despite being a good 3/4 of a block away when his light turned yellow. If I had been on the ball and stepped into the street immediately, well, my children would have been motherless in quick fashion. I don’t know how fast that driver was going as he went through the intersection, but it was a heck of a lot faster than 30mph. I still get scared thinking of that one.

      Every day I am surprised that more people aren’t hurt or killed in car accidents, at least in my neighborhood. The things I see as I walk around nearly make my hair stand on end.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Here’s another intersection, this one in Ethiopia. It’s strange that it’s such a huge intersection, and there are no lane markings, as well as no signals. It’s amazing that there isn’t a crash every two minutes or so.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Our worst white out was at Summit, SD, which is really high up on the Coteau des Prairies, until Fargo. Husband and I were having a big argument at the time, and that made it worse. We rarely argue like that.

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  15. How does that even work! That’s crazy. Is it CGI? It seems like the trial runs would be deadly!

    Thanks. Sorry, I forgot to add the photos. I remembered right after I sent the update. I’ll send out the photos right now. Sorry, I have pictures of Fabio’s family’s house but not on my phone because I took them off when they updated to the Cloud. If you could find them on the Cloud and email them to me I can put them in the final email update next week… if you’d like.

    -Reid

    On Tue, Jan 5, 2016 at 5:02 AM, Trail Baboon wrote:

    > Reid — Just like Tegucigalpa! > > This link works better… > > Daaaad >

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