Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gravel Road Etiquette

pic from here

I've driven on gravel roads since Day One of the first trip around the block, only it was around the section. We don't have blocks out here, unless they are one mile by one mile. Sheer experience has given me the ability to judge how fast I can drive safely in good or bad conditions. The picture above shows how a gravel road has tracks worn into it - and you can see four tracks. That is a wide road. It is also in Namibia, where they drive on the wrong side - heh. Ain't Google Image Search a great deal?

Anyhow, there are certain rules to driving on said roads, and the first and foremost is - when meeting another vehicle, get yer hiney OVER! Driving down the center of a dirt road is a good idea for many reasons, but when meeting someone? Not so much. Many of these roads only have three or even two tracks worn into it, and many people seem to have the idea that they are not required to move out of those tracks - even if their side of the road is ten or more feet away. This means I may have to drive in the ditch to keep from hitting the road hog. Yeah, sometimes the gravel ridge is a bitch to drive on. If you can't keep control of your set 'o wheels, yer going too fast. If you can't meet another vehicle without trying to force them off the road, slow your ass down, pull over and stop, fer chrissakes.

Of course, this rant is basically wasted - the people who do this in this area aren't gonna read this anyhow. Most commonly, they read Spanish, if at all. There are a lot of feedlots and a huge dairy close by, and gee, guess what, the employees have to drive to get there. I'm not trying to be racist here - just stating what I see. A lot of these guys drive slow so there is no probable cause to pull them over, and drink or get high on the back roads on their way to and from work. Again - this happens all the time.

The other types that won't yield are out of staters, and Kansas tags that say SG or JO. Kansas abbreviates the county of origin on their tags. SG is Sedgwick County, home of Wichita KS, and JO is Johnson County, home of Kansas City KS. In other words, big city assholes. If I were to hog the centerline in their berg, they'd be flippin' me off, honking and yelling at me. But, since it's out here in flyover country, it's ok if they do it - since we're just here for their amusement or something.

But, most of us out here on the prairie have adapted to this sort of behavior. When we see that the car we are meeting isn't too wild about giving us any room, we edge over to the left until they do move. We were already all the way to the right to begin with. Tonite, I saw brake lights after someone tried to take their half out of the middle and I didn't go for it. Bring it on, I say. There is a big problem with this strategy, though, and that is perhaps there might be a glancing collision - maybe two broken mirrors or sideswiping each other. Another major flaw in this scenario is that the first group of road hogs also have a very bad history of actually having insurance and driver's licenses.

But, so far so good.

Aaaand, most of us local yokels can drive sideways on these roads faster than a pavement pounder can - period.


Anonymous said...

The inept gravel road hogs of which you speak should have learned to drive with my dad in the passenger seat. To say he was tough is an understatement. When my younger brother finally got his chance behind the wheel he came back from his first ride with tears in his eyes. We only had one car and no pickup and the old man did not want us wrecking it and forcing him to drive a tractor into town.

Anonymous said...

Actually Kansas City, KS is in Wyandotte County where I hale from. We too hate the snotty ass hoes from JOCO!