I’m beginning to think that New Yorkers are a certain type of suicidal.
We went to Long Island to take a look at wedding venues this morning. The drive out took aroundt two hours. The drive back took almost four. The first accident was at exit 64, an overturned Jeep with the roof torn off. According to Google Maps, it happened sometime around 3:30. They didn’t unblock the lanes until almost two hours later. We passed another accident somewhere around exit 30 on our side of the highway, and there were at least another two accidents on the east-bound side.
In light of the number of ambulances and police cars tearing down the highway, you would think people would slow down a little. Driving by the accidents seemed to have the inverse effect, though, causing people to fly by me at 90 mph and then change lanes with barely enough clearance to slide a credit card.
Driving in the city was another matter entirely. I’ve always thought that driving through Berkeley is a little like playing dodgeball, except that you, the driver, are simultaneously the ball and the dodger. Traffic around campus only moves about 20 mph, max, which is why when a friend of mine was hit by a woman eating macaroni and cheese out of a pot with a wooden spoon, he rolled up the hood and onto the windshield but was pretty much ok. The reality in Berkeley is that the undergrads are going to cross the road without bothering to look for traffic because they’re too busy staring at their phones. The result: a town where (mostly) all the drivers stop at crosswalks and go reeaaal slow within a ten block radius of the school.
As far as I can tell, driving in Manhattan is less like dodgeball and more like red rover. It’s not that the pedestrians aren’t aware of the cars. It’s that they regard getting across the street against the light without being hit as a personal challenge, the kind of thing where the goal is to make it with an ever decreasing margin of safety. Bicyclists, on the other hand, seem oblivious to both pedestrians and cars, weaving through traffic in no discernible pattern.
All of which makes me rather happy that the car will not be coming to the city with us.