Having driven an estimated 360,000 miles the past two decades while commuting to work, I’ve got a passion for things to help commuter motorists.
Here are some of them:
GPS – Even if you know the way, turn it on so that it can alert you about trouble ahead. If needed, it also will immediately reroute you.
Cruise control – Not only does it give your foot a rest, it saves time and gas as you maintain a steady speed.
Smart boards – Digital billboards with traffic alerts and other relevant info, such as estimated time to a particular exit. Great idea that hopefully will grow.
E-ZPass – It’s amazing it took until the late 1980s for electronic toll collection to be used.
Traffic apps – A good one is invaluable.
Radio traffic reports – Useful but sometimes too late with the information or unaware that a bottleneck has been cleared.
Sensors – Distance sensors on your car to detect other vehicles are helpful when changing lanes.
Rumble strips – Used to mark lanes and the edge of the road, they rouse sleepy drivers and prevent accidents.
511 – You can call 511 to get traffic updates on busy highways. But Pennsylvania’s automated 511 system is outrageously frustrating in that it often doesn’t recognize your responses. It’s a waste of time.
Console cup holders – No explanation needed.
What’s needed – Someone out there needs to invent a bib or apron that covers your entire torso and legs to mitigate the damage when you spill a drink or messy food. A type of body block, as it were.
RANDOM SHOTS AND SECOND THOUGHTS
-- It’s probably not true that a mob contract is out to snuff out that annoying groundhog who shills for the Pennsylvania Lottery. But if there is one, put me down to finance it.
-- Proud uncle: Three of my nephews are Eagle Scouts. Meanwhile, I once finished sixth in the Pinewood Derby. Does that count for anything?
-- Pretty certain that I could eat fresh, local tomatoes, mozzarella, basil leaves and olive oil for lunch every day of the year and never tire of it. Alas, you can only get fresh, local tomatoes about two months out of the year.
-- Played hoops recently, 3-on-3, on a team with a guy named Omari (who said to call him O) and a guy who wouldn’t give his name but said to call him Philly. Needless to say, we were undefeated.