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July 25, 2005 - Summer Vacation Driving
A few of us loaded up for our annual trip to the North Carolina Mountains on Friday. We come here to cool off and see something higher than a freeway overpass. Hills and mountains have a way of quickly changing your perspective. You can see for miles and the scenery is beautiful. Trees, trees, and more trees. Thirty and forty foot maples and evergreens blanket the mountains creating a canopy that gives you dark shade. The kind of shade that makes you feel like you are in a forest.
The beginning of our trip wasn't so peaceful. We ordered one of those luggage carriers that goes on the roof. The hard plastic kind that looks like it will hold everything and keep it dry and safe. Our carrier came three days before departure. We quickly went to install it on the roof only to find that we were not sent all the parts. Ten phone calls later we exhausted all efforts to local roof rack dealers and decided to take a different track. We called the local car dealer and they had a carrier for our car. Two hours later we were racked and ready to go.
The first leg of our trip was from Palm City to Jacksonville. I95 is really the only option and luckily we had a smooth drive. The folks heading south weren't so lucky. A car carrier, a mini-van, and a car had a nasty accident near Palm Bay. Through north Florida I95 is pretty much 70 MPH speed limits with a few slower areas as you pass through cities. Pay attention as you cruise I95. Many drivers miss the speed limit changes and the local police are always watching - and for good reason.
Driving Through States
Day two took us from Jacksonville north on I95 through Georgia, South Carolina, and into North Carolina. The speed limit changed several times from 70 to 60 and down to 55 in some places. Again, pay attention or you will get a traffic ticket. There were two dangerous driving habits we saw a lot.
The Fly Up
Let's say in you cruising in the left lane and there is a slow poke in front of you. The Fly Up is when you approaching the slow moving vehicle very quickly and slow down only when you are about to run into them. It's almost like you expect them to move so you can keep your speed. That would be nice for you but in many cases you are exceeding the speed limit to an extent that many drivers will not. Slow down as you approach a car and keep back at least one car length for every ten miles per hour you are driving. So at 70 MPH you should be seven car lengths back.
Blocking the Entrance
This is an easy habit to break and in most cases it's not intentional. Pay attention for cars trying to get onto the highway. If you can, move over to make it easier for other drivers to get on the road. And maybe someone will do it for you.
Tomorrows Report: Driving Mountain Roads
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