Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thankful for... the open roads

IMG_1309Today, I got the itch to take some photos.  I did not know what I wanted to photograph, or where, so I decided to strike out and see where the road carried me.  I ended up mostly driving, and shooting very few pictures, yet it was still a good trip, because it was a lovely day for a drive.  Given the large number of motorcycles I saw on the roads, I think a lot of other people thought so as well.

I was a late driver, not getting my license until I was 19.  I was more than a little afraid to drive, and that fear gave me a lot of respect for the roads I drove, and all that our road system entails.  Now, I am, by no means, indicating our road system is perfect.  But, where would we be without those roads?

So much goes in to creating and maintaining our roads, as well as keeping them safe.  None of us like road construction, which seems to be never ending in the Pittsburgh area.  With a city that is a giant bottleneck on a good day, the least little bit of road construction can, and often does, bring the city to its knees.  But think of where we would be without the state DOT to create, repair, and maintain the roads.  If there were no construction, then our roads would end up destroyed, impassable.

Winter is simultaneously my most and least favorite time to be on the roads.  It is my most favorite time, because I love seeing the rural hills and valleys turned into a winter wonderland, and I often strike out to take pictures.  But, it is also my least favorite because the roads can be so treacherous.  Luckily, living in town, we have a road crew devoted to clearing the streets and making them safe.  It is tempting to complain about the roads not being cleared quickly enough, but these crews often work all night long to prepare for storms, or deal with the effects of a large snowfall.

No one likes getting a traffic ticket, myself included, so it is easy to dislike the various law enforcement agencies patrolling city streets and state highways.  But they really are there to help maintain order and safety.  When we get caught transgressing, it is easier to blame the officer than to accept blame ourselves.

In short, every day, men and women risk their lives to create, maintain, and patrol our roads.  Whether the roads are in small towns, or in big cities, thousands and thousands of people work hard to make our roads safe.  The work they do is long, hard, and most often thankless, so today, I give them my thanks.