Wednesday, February 09, 2005

A Scientific Challenge

It occurred to me one night last week, as a tailgater was trying to convince me to drive at 65 miles per hour down a narrow country road in the dark, that we need to breed bioluminescent deer, bear and moose.

Speeders at night apparently only expect to have to deal with lighted obstacles. This is clear from their foolish insistence on driving at speeds that would be idiotic in daylight, let alone at night. They obviously can't imagine a furry flank suddenly appearing before them in the murk. And, even though we're in the middle of winter, they can't possibly encounter a patch of ice. All they need to worry about are other cars.

Sad-- but too infrequent-- experience proves otherwise. But bioluminescent animals would solve that problem.

Later we can work on chemical additives in road salt so that black ice would glow, too. Perhaps it could even spell out the word "ice," in menacing, wavery letters.

1 comment:

Don said...

Or we could just coat the suckers in reflective paint. In the 1920s and 1930s, it was common practice to paint everything white along the side of rural roads, from the ground up to about four feet in height. This included trees, fence posts, rocks, mailboxes, you name it. This practice shows up in some old photographs but seems to have almost entirely disappeared and been forgotten (I have one report that it persists in some Midwestern rural areas). In the days when automobile headlights were limited to a legal maximum of 21 candlepower, and rural roads had no stationary lighting, this made sense. In the 1970s and 80s when I drove cars of that vintage on such roads, I would have appreciated if it had still be done. Cars today have better headlights but are driven a lot faster. Maybe we need to revive this custom and extend it to mobile as well as stationary traffic hazards.