Thursday, April 27, 2006

Utah Valley's asteroid belt

It's not a question of "if", it's not even a question of "when". It's a question of "how often". Not long ago, on my way home from work, I heard a loud smack and noticed a chip on what had moments ago been a pristine windshield. Not just a little glass divot, either; the impact had caused some small crack lines to fan out immediately. Lovely. Not a week later, it happened again. How strangely fortunate, I thought, that I hadn't spent the money on a new windshield yet. The universe's reaction to this thinking was to toss yet another rock at almost the same spot not 30 seconds later. A crack twofer. Apparently my commute leads directly through an asteroid field, and the Ford Taurus has significantly less shielding than the Millenium Falcon.

Yesterday, I was struck yet again. Same story, chip plus initial cracking all at once. All of these battle scars are in non-critical spots visually, which I suppose is some manner of silver lining. But with every hit, my enthusiasm for replacing that big pane of debris-magnet ("glass", some call it) dwindles.

This is no "woe is me" anecdote - the whole of Utah Valley suffers the same pain. There are some good reasons why it's such a common thing around here, as it turns out.
  • Where there are mountains, there are quarries
  • Where there are quarries, there are trucks carrying chunks of stone
  • Where there are regulations for covering truckloads, people are lazy
To amplify the matter, there are a grand total of two roads in Utah Valley, I-15 and State Street. The freeway and the old freeway. Both are under construction at all times, just in case there isn't enough loose debris around already. It also tends not to rain much here. Any washing away of debris from those two roads occurrs at pretty distant intervals.

This problem actually has a wonderfully-oversized solution:
Unfortunately, further arming Utah drivers would cause more trouble than it would fix.


svoid said...

That's a pain in the ass isn't it? I've been lucky enough to have only had to replace one windshield since moving here. But I've heard many people lament the fact that replacing windshield glass is just a fact of life out here.

Are covered loads a regulation? I see an awful lot of trucks that aren't covered. It scares the crap out of me on the motorcycle. Imagine that big ass crack in your windshield and then imagine how that would feel hitting your face if the windshield isn't there.

Penduin said...

Svoid, you're a braver man than I. Depending on the angle from which these projectiles were coming in, I think at least one would have been a head shot had I been on a bike. Luckily, (this is Red Green logic) the human body is full of backup plans. Two eyes, two arms, two legs, when it comes to fingers, you can make nine mistakes and still be able to dial 9-1-1.

As for covered loads being regulated, that's what I've heard, but as you say, not what I've seen. Reporting hearsay as fact is all the rage though, so that's what I went for. :^)