In Matrix: Revolutions, the characters had what seemed to be an irrational fear of driving on the freeway. It was almost comical as it was more akin to something one might imagine from an 80-year-old grandmother and not an ass-kicking cyber terrorist. Still, when the viewer realized it was became every car could be a weapon and every driver an "Agent," the cause for concern was immediately understood.
For many years, I had a gig on New Year's Eve. I'd play with some band and not get done until well after midnight. Every drive home -- or back to the rehearsal room -- was an adventure. In fact, it was often terrifying since I appeared to be the only sober person on the highway at 3 a.m. on the first day of the new year.
Since then, I have avoided the freeways like the plague on New Year's Eve. Here's why you should too.
5. People do stupid things at 3 a.m.
There's a period of time late at night when even criminals are asleep. It's a dead period when most people don't need to be awake let along driving. New Year's Eve is the one night of the year when pretty much everyone lives contrary to normal life. As a result, there are people on the road way past their bedtime. Besides the obvious impairments, sleep deprivation is an issue. Also, people just act nutty in the wee morning hours, especially behind the wheel and particularly on the highway.
4. With fewer people on the road, drivers often drive much more recklessly than they should.
One of the key ingredients in most accidents is confidence. Drivers think they can go faster, beat red lights and generally drive with reckless abandon when they feel a surge of confidence. One way to enhance that is to reduce the number of other drivers on the road by approximately three-fourths. Nothing is as tempting as hauling ass down a near-empty freeway because what could possibly happen? 3. Surprisingly, there can be traffic particularly if there is an accident.
One New Year's, I was stuck on the freeway for over an hour because of a serious accident. Traffic was literally stopped at 2:30 a.m. and I didn't get home until close to 4. Side streets offer far more options to avoid traffic delays if they happen, and even if there is an accident in your path, chances are you can get around it much more easily.
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2. Speed kills.
In sports and on the highway, there is no question that speed is a killer and there is rarely a time when people speed more than after a long night of partying. When most of society is getting their party on at the same time, it can be a recipe for disaster.
1. What designated driver?
It still amazes me that people get hammered and get behind the wheel, particularly on a night like New Year's Eve when so many other people do the exact same thing. At times, it's like Mad Max out there but without the heavily armored vehicles. It is made even more difficult that cab companies are inundated with requests, putting even more drunk idiots on the road. Don't be one of those this year.