Monday, February 15, 2010

In Need of Roadside Assistance

Since living in Alabama I've noticed something on the highway that I doubt is unique to the state, but I certainly cannot recall seeing in the mid-Atlantic region. If I drive for more than 10 minutes on I-85 or I-65 (the two interstates that go through Montgomery), I'm guaranteed to see an abandoned car on the shoulder. During trips of over an hour I'll see many cars that appear to have been left on the shoulder.

Maybe I was just totally oblivious to this when living in Philadelphia, but during the many, many times on the Schuylkill, I-95, Northeast Extension, and NJ Turnpike, I rarely can recall seeing abandon cars on the shoulder. Maybe PennDOT and NJDOT were more aggressive about removing them?

But here's the thing that really strikes me as weird. Typically there is a 20ft grass area to the right of the shoulder. If I'm going to pull over to the shoulder and get out of my car, and especially if I'm going to abandon my car, I would pull into the grass area to minimize the chance of me or my car being hit by a car on the highway. No one does this. And who the heck are all of these people who are just leaving their cars on the shoulder? These cars typically don't appear to be clunkers. I would wait with my car for the tow truck to pick it up.


  1. This may have to do with more people in the South fixing their own cars, or knowing someone (brother, cousin, neighbor, ol' Bobby Ray down by the junkyard, etc.) who can fix it for them and therefore not waiting around for it to be towed because it will either be fixed right there on the side of the road or Ol' Bobby Ray will come get it when he has time.

  2. Interesting theory.

    I think part of it has to do with a lack of enforcement of traffic laws on the interstate. The only place I ever see State Troopers is on a 4 mile stretch of I-65 between downtown Montgomery and the Montgomery airport.