Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Speed Bumps!

Speed Bumps - Speed Humps - Speed Control Islands - etc.

The variety of these evil things is astounding. Their purpose is ostensibly to control speeders.

Their actual accomplishments are probably major business for companies making shock absorbers, brakes, and steering components.

These things come in all varieties.....short, tall little bumps which rock your vehicle at even low speed; wider "islands" which, in my mind accomplish nothing at all; and everything in between.

Tampa & Hillsborough County (in which I actually reside) seem preoccupied with these demons. My own street has thus far been spared, but I am fearful. Neighboring streets, including those to my favorite drive-thru Indian-owned (As in the country, not our natives) beer sales place, are rife with them!

Even getting to our neighborhood post office requires trips across the demons.

I have, following careful research-by-driving, found several truths about these things. The oldest ones are the steepest, and the most trouble for cars of any kind...Including both my Town Car and my little Suzuki Jeep. The speed at which you cross them also plays a part. In my Town Car, for instance, I can charge over many of them at 25-35 and the car barely acknowledges them at all. In the Suzuki a 25-35 mph approach will send you careening off in a different direction while trying to re-collect the items which have been launched from the dash, console, etc.

One thing they do not do is control speed. I find the youngsters here (mostly in their little two-door Japanese Kamikaze-mobiles consider them start and end points for racing. They merrily race from one to the next.....

I have a strong suspicion the asphalt companies are complicit in their proliferation! Now a newer threat is posed by these little black hills. They recently re-surfaced one of the streets going to our post office. Since the asphalt machine cannot go over a hump well, they simply laid asphalt to within 4 feet or so and stopped, beginning again 4 feet beyond the hump. Now the humps are, in effect even higher as you drop off the new asphalt as you near them, and then climb back aboard again on the far side. If I live here for another 2-3 asphalt layers on that street I may be able to achieve orbit in my Suzuki! I await the opportunity.