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Stay in Your Lane

The summer travel season has arrived across our Nation, and I have many thoughts to share with you. A couple of them are guaranteed to happen every year, some are a sign of the current times we are living in, and a few are probably more supply chain related, although I’m going to work them into my column. All can definitely affect your drive to work or that much anticipated vacation.

I will begin with the fleecing of America that takes place every time we fuel up a vehicle, only now there’s a little extra twist. We have been brainwashed over the years to believe the price of gas just naturally goes up this time of year. The only reason the price of gas goes up is because Americans drive more in the summer, and the big oil companies take advantage of this fact. I know they always have a reason to justify it with the help of the national media, Wall Street, and even our federal government, but I believe the truth is just simply corporate greed and how it benefits all the above-mentioned.

As far as the twist I was talking about, gas prices are already more than we should be paying, and American wages haven’t kept up with the cost of living and traveling on any level. So, this equates to this year’s transportation taking a little bigger bite out of your wallet. Not to mention it’s harder than ever to save for that vacation because of the effects of inflation on everything Americans purchase, from groceries to housing to the insurance to protect whatever they have or the vehicles that enable them to travel. Let’s not forget the climbing cost of health care and medication.

The bottom line is everything has increased, and we’re not the federal government, so that money has to come from somewhere. Americans put more on their charge cards than ever before, and the interest rates charged by financial institutions also drain opportunities to save for travel.

Moving right along with what always goes hand-in-hand with summer driving is construction — and there seems to be more of that going on at every turn. This also means you must allow a little extra time and patience for travel. Please keep your eyes on the road and away from distractions.

I will stay away from why our bridges and roads have gotten in such bad shape in Pennsylvania. We have paid some of the highest fuel taxes in the Nation for decades. Tolls are nothing new to our state and are only going up. And our state has benefitted from natural gas money intended for maintaining the roadways. Something tells me this money didn’t end up where it was supposed to. I will stop there and get back to all the work zones.

Please give our highway workers a break; they have a tough job to do in a dangerous work environment. You see the drivers they must deal with every day; some make the Walmart parking lot a hazardous situation. At the end of the day, they just want to get into their vehicle and drive home safely. As you approach a work area, drive like one of your family members or friends has that assignment for the day.

That gets me to the supply chain issues that we all cross paths with every day. I don’t think truck drivers have ever gotten the respect for what they do and how important they are to keeping everything in our Nation running. Due to everything that has happened in the last few years, many have chosen to retire or find another line of work. America needs more truck drivers, but like so many other jobs, they also need more qualified applicants.

They must then be properly trained and gain the real-life experience of being out on the road. Minor mishaps almost always occur for a new driver of any vehicle. This is obviously compounded by the size and weight of a tractor-trailer or whatever truck they are operating.

I do not want this to be read like I’m criticizing any truck driver, new or old. And I understand firsthand what they’re dealing with each and every day. However, I do not believe I have ever seen more accidents or more close misses. Many of these occurrences are caused by just flat-out unsafe and bad driving. I think the level of professionalism behind the wheel is at an all-time low. I understand the lack of drivers has caused companies outside our area to put drivers behind the wheel that may not be ready. They should first be kept at home working in their local area. They then end up on our local highways, which have some very difficult spots to negotiate without the experience or understanding needed. This is a terrible corporate decision.

So, this is where I give a tip of my Webb Weekly cap with the American Flag on it to all the truck drivers out there doing it the right way and keeping the highways safe. Accidents are always going to happen in this business, but a good driver can prevent or lessen the outcome in most cases.

I will finish up this week with please pay close attention to how you’re driving and what is going on around you as you’re sharing the road. There’s a lot going on this time of year, none of which really matters if you don’t arrive there safely.

When a near miss occurs, please give a wave that you’re sorry or one of understanding. Be grateful that an accident did not occur and avoid escalating the situation.

Let’s all be safe out there.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb