June 26, 2017
This is one of the biggest pet peeves the Iowa DOT hears from drivers. This pet peeve can also be dangerous. Driving slower than the speed limit or the flow of traffic in the left lane can cause rear-end collisions because approaching drivers are not expecting slower speeds in the “passing” lane.
So what makes the left lane the “passing” lane? The use of highway lanes is governed by Iowa Code section 321.297(2)
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know – it’s National Martini Day.
In true James Bond fashion, a good Martini is shaken, not stirred. A good driver is always sober. In the United States, statistics show someone dies in a crash involving a drunk driver every 51 minutes.
In 2016, 405 people died on Iowa highways. Of those, 120 died due to the bad choices made by an impaired driver. Think about it, we could cut Iowa traffic deaths by nearly 30 percent every year if people would simply designate a sober driver, call a taxi or rideshare, or just stay put when impaired.
Integrated roadside vegetation management – it’s just a fancy term for putting things back the way they were when buffalos roamed Iowa prairies. In the 1940s, 50s, and 60s when most Iowa roadways were originally built, roadside plantings were not a main focus before, during, or after highway construction. Planting non-native species along the road was inexpensive and seemed to work just fine to cover the area.
By the 1980s, roadside erosion and water quality started becoming a problem. The Iowa Department of Transportation’s roadside development group began researching the underlying issues causing these problems. This lead them to advocate for a transformation of roadsides back to deep-rooted native prairie plantings to stabilize the soil and provide filtration for water runoff.
“Asleep at the Wheel” may be a great name for a country music group, but it’s a horrible way to drive. Even a driver who’s a little bit drowsy can exhibit some of the same dangerous behaviors as a drunk driver.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 18 hours straight makes you drive like you have a blood alcohol level of .05 (for reference, .08 is considered legally drunk). If you’ve been awake for a full 24 hours and drive—say, after a night where you just couldn’t fall asleep—it’s like you have a blood alcohol level of .10. Driving drowsy, like driving drunk, leads to slower reaction times, and impaired attention, mental processing, judgment, and decision making.