Friday, November 15, 2013

Driving to Work (and Home Again)

My route to work includes a two-lane road that takes me past a stone-crushing facility. Not surprisingly, there are a number of large trucks coming in and out of its driveway. One did so this morning as I was coming up the road and it headed in the direction I was traveling.

A large sign on the back of the truck read "Construction Vehicle. Do Not Follow." I've seen this message on trucks before and wondered what it is supposed to mean, especially as I am driving on a winding road that has no passing lane nor any portion in which is is safe to cross over and pass said truck. Should we all just pull over and sit on the side of the road until the truck is out of sight, so as not to be accused of following it?

And just what is the penalty for following a construction vehicle? Other than, presumably, driving more slowly than you might if the truck was not in front of you? Are there Construction Vehicle Police who will magically appear and give you a ticket?


The speed limit on this same road is 40 mph, except for a short stretch in front of an elementary school, where the limit is 30 mph between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on school days. As you approach the school from either direction, there is one of those speed-sensor signs that flashes and tells you what your speed is. (On the occasions that I ride my bicycle to work, I am amused to see that the sensor notices me and flashes that I am going about 11 m.p.h. This must baffle some of the drivers passing me.)

Unfortunately, when you approach from the north, the sensor seems to be aimed at some spot about a quarter mile up the road. More often than not, I'll be nearing the sign at a speed around the limit, but the sign will be flashing 42 or 45 or 47 or higher because it is registering someone who not yet within the speed zone. I suppose this doesn't really matter as long as there isn't a ticket-writing police officer sitting there using the sign as the basis for determining who is speeding.

Still, it's become a habit to check my speedometer and compare it to the flashing sign as I go by. It never seems to match.


The distance from home to the office is just over five miles. Along the way, I pass three 7-11 stores. There are no fast-food franchises and no gas stations along the route. It would seem obvious that there is a market for Slurpees, but none for Big Macs or five gallons of fuel.


According to Mapquest, it should take me thirteen minutes to drive to work. It's usually between fifteen and twenty, however, depending on how much traffic there is and how many of the traffic lights I hit driving through Farmingdale village.

The key, however, is to be ahead of the various school buses that make their way along the same route, rather than behind one because that adds ten minutes to the trip. And if it's a school bus that's behind a sanitation truck on garbage day? Might as well have another cup of coffee before leaving the house.


  1. Today I heard a commercial offering some free service to "veterans past and present." What does that mean?

  2. RE: Construction vehicles....this is to prevent a couple of things...first is wandering down to a construction area and the second is to minimize the chances of errant "stuff" smacking into your car. I got nailed by a rock flying off of one of these that caused my windshield to need replacing.