A few weeks ago, I was driving with my family in upstate New York on one of those open two-lane highways where it’s pretty easy to do 60 m.p.h. even though you probably shouldn’t. (The posted speed limit is 55.) The road is dotted with farmhouses from which the occasional dog can dart out, or even a kid on a bike. It’s also hilly and a bit curvy — all in all, a road you want to drive safely on.
So when I had so slam on my brakes at the sight of some orange cones in the middle of this road, I immediately worried there’d been a bad accident. There were at least a dozen cars backed up in either direction. But there hadn’t been an accident.
Out in front of the fire house, the town’s volunteer rescue squad had used the cones to stop traffic and several people were soliciting donations for the rescue squad’s budget.
I was pretty surprised. If you were at a meeting of the rescue squad and someone was soliciting ideas to raise money, I’d have to think that stopping high-speed traffic in the middle of the road in order to shake a can would be pretty near the bottom of the list; kind of like a doctor offering cigarettes in the waiting room.
On the other hand, if someone did have an accident as they were screeching to a halt, the rescue squad would be right on hand — and could therefore make a strong argument for the service it provides.
And you thought painting ads on the highway was dangerous.