Three Forks Voice - Connect With Your Community!

By Jack H. Smith
Three Forks Voice 

Column: Slow it down

 


I was lucky enough to have grown up in Wyoming and to spend the past six years living in Montana. In my humble opinion, there are not two better states in America. I should probably visit all 50 states before making that assumption, but I’ve done enough traveling to know that I might be onto something. Maybe Vermont is the absolute best place, and I need to get there, but there is just something special about Montana and Wyoming.

There are so many wonderful things about living in Montana, and for the past two years, I have enjoyed living out of town limits. I used to own a paper down the Interstate a few miles and lived in town. People would show up at our house to discuss newspaper-related business. Sometimes it was after 10 p.m., and that was flat out wrong. So it is nice to be out of the way a little bit and to be able to enjoy the quiet.

The other morning a calf got into our yard, and another recent day the wind took down our tree, but for the most part, it stays pretty quiet. That is with one exception.

I live on a state highway that is pretty quiet traffic-wise compared to some but still gets quite a bit of travel during the summer.

Where I live, the speed limit is only 45, but there aren’t many that follow it.

It does matter what type of vehicle it is; they are usually going way too fast. I’ve seen semis go by so quickly it shakes the house, motorcycles go screaming by at warp speed, passenger cars appear to be doing practice laps for the Daytona 500, and gigantic Winnebago’s comes barreling down the road so fast I’m afraid they might flip over and roll down my hill.

Until I lived on a state highway, I didn’t realize how bad people drive on more minor primary routes.

As much as it drives me crazy, I have almost got used to speeding on the Interstate, and my blood does not typically boil about it unless it is in the winter where driving too fast is a bad idea.

It is downright scary how bad people drive when the speed limit is 45.

My mailbox is just a few feet from the highway, and I am always very nervous to head up there during snowy conditions or on a busy day. I also am a bit apprehensive about mowing the lawn.

I mowed my lawn on Memorial Day, and I was horrified by how many out-of-state vehicles went screaming by.

I am all about tourism, and it does generate money for the economy. However, those traveling also have to realize that people live on these roads, and it incredibly rude and dangerous to be treating them like a personal racetrack.

I doubt someone would be too happy if I went 40 miles over the speed limit by their house while I was pulling a camper or boat, so I don’t know why it’s acceptable for them to do it to me.

In this scenario where I’m driving by someone’s house way too fast, I wonder how they might react if I threw a urine-filled bottle in their driveway or a lit cigarette on their lawn or in their bushes. The reaction would not be pretty. Yet, this is exactly what I find in my yard a few times a month. I recently found a diaper in lawn, which was a great little pre-mowing gift.

I wish that when people drove on a state road, or any road where people live, to slow it down.

Following the speed limit is only going to take a minute or two longer. It’s not the end of the world to go 45 for a while.

There are certain circumstances when I see an ambulance, fire truck, or law enforcement official going by a little faster, but that is 100 percent understandable.

What is not okay is going 80 miles per hour, just so somebody can get to the fishing access by my house a few minutes earlier. I sure hope last week was the last time I had to see a racetrack from my front yard, but I’m not holding my breath.

 

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