On Rubbernecking: A Message to Bay Area Drivers

I was driving with some of you up I-280 on Thursday night when traffic starting building up after the CA-92 interchange. As you know this is unusual. Stop and go persisted for a couple miles. Like many of you, I believed that there must have been an accident, and a serious one, to cause such a backup on the usually smooth traveling road. It had rained a little bit that afternoon, and the air was still misty. I was very surprised, with no accident in sight, to see the flow of traffic increase ahead of me as I approached the bridge at the Crystal Springs Dam. Crossing the bridge, I realized, as you did, the cause of the delay: a 90 degree arc of a rainbow. With the mist in the air, the tall span, the evening sunlight, the conditions were perfect. And as I made the realization of its presence, emotion came over me, and I audibly asked no one but the Sled itself, “That’s what we all had to slow down for!!”

Look everyone, I think rainbows are as cool as the next guy, but you know all you need is water and sun. If you have a hose, you can make a rainbow yourself. At home. As in, not on an interstate highway, where I want to be traveling in excess of 65 miles per hour.

Now, I ask you to contrast that with what we witnessed on Friday night on I-580 in Oakland between I-238 and CA-13. On the steep hills east of the highway was a sight much more awesome than a singular, unremarkable rainbow. There were goats. Tons of goats. Covering the steep hill, eating up the grass on the unmowable hillside. Was there any delay? None. Are you kidding me? Hundreds of goats in a major metropolitan area doesn’t faze anyone?

Bay Area drivers, let’s get it together. If we don’t understand what’s worth rubbernecking for, what do we understand? Next time you get behind the wheel, take a moment, think about what you’re about to do, turn that key, and strive.