Friday, June 20, 2008

Go Green! Run all the reds

I saw red the first time my local gas station posted unleaded at $4 per gallon. I vowed it would be the last time I ever saw red again -- at least when it came to traffic lights.

Now, I’m colorblind. I no longer see reds or yellows.

Yep, I’ve gone totally green. And when I say gone, I mean really gone. Look for me at the stop signs and all you'll see are my fading tail lights.

On July 4, I intend to launch a movement that’s truly about movement. For the good of the environment and to reduce our demeaning dependence on foreign oil, I’m calling on all Americans to stop stopping at red lights.

There’s a fascinating study making the rounds about how U.P.S. saves millions by routing its vehicles to make more right turns.

This is from a recent Elaine Jarvik story from the Deseret Morning News: “The world wastes a lot of time and fuel waiting to turn left -- which is why UPS is going the extra mile to make sure its drivers mostly turn right.

“The package-delivery company has long encouraged its drivers to avoid left-hand turns whenever possible, because turning left in busy intersections is more dangerous, takes more time and uses more gas. Now the company has developed a ‘package flow’ software program that maps out routes to avoid backtracking and left-hand turns.

"UPS, which last year drove 2 billion miles to move 14.8 million packages and documents from one place to another, says all those right turns will save millions of dollars a year. In Washington, D.C., the new route planning technology trimmed 464,000 miles, saved more than 51,000 gallons in fuel, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 506 metric tons over an 18-month period, according to spokesman Dan McMackin at UPS headquarters in Atlanta.”

Of course, if they save that much gas by keeping the vehicular Big Browns going right, it makes sense that simply keeping them going would save them even more.

I’ve always been keen on running red lights for intellectual reasons. This makes me sort of soulmates with Cajun man.

I’ve read that nothing infuriates a Cajun more than having to sit at a red light. Why, Cajun man asks, does a stupid machine have the right to tell him when he can and cannot go?

Cajun man doesn’t want to wreck his vehicle. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone. But Cajun man (and I realize this is devolving into an old Adam Sandler skit here) knows better than a traffic light if it’s okay for him to go or not.

Cajun man isn’t blind and Cajun man isn’t stupid.

Neither am I.

It makes no sense for me to sit at a red light when, if I give a sober look left and a sober look right, I can see no one’s coming.

I’m not advocating anarchy here. Until Detroit electrifies the world by announcing the manufacture of invisible cars, it’s simple common sense.

If we’re allowed to go right on red when sparse traffic warrants, why on earth can’t we go straight in the same situation? Or left?

Of course, I know better than the traffic light. So do you. I’m not talking about being reckless. Not at all. I don’t want to wreck my car, hurt anyone or risk jail by fleeing an accident I’ve caused by trying to keep my tank full.

I just am confident I know better than the robotic light.

So I’m declaring the Fourth of July my own sort of Independence Day.

I do hereby declare that I will henceforth shed the tyranny of the traffic light. I will go when I can do so safely, without risking bending the fenders of my fellow man. I will do so confident that I am reducing America’s fuel consumption, saving precious natural resources and that what the state police consider an act of lawlessness, is in fact an act of patriotic rebellion worthy of our tea-dumping founding fathers.

As of July 4th, traffic lights are no longer the law of the land.

They’re merely suggestions.

1 comment:

A.J. Jacobs said...

What about Stop signs? And Yield signs? Are those tyrannical too?