My thoughts on Volvos and their drivers

As I have said before, Volvos are very safe vehicles. Apparently, they have a much lower rate of accidents. That is, in my opinion based on thousands of hours on the road, because their drivers never drive them fast enough to get IN an accident. Frequently, the oblivious behaviour of Volvo drivers causes accidents which drives up the accident rates of other model cars.

I have known only one Volvo driver who EVER drove at or above the speed limit and have very rarely encountered a Volvo driver who has not driven at well below the speed limit, gone through an intersection at anything but a crawl, and not been at the head of a line of traffic going well below the speed limit.

Is it the car or the driver?

This afternoon, on the way out to collect a U-Haul van, I was behind a silver Volvo station wagon (99% of Volvos on the road seem to be station wagons — more often silver).

In a 60 km zone, he was driving 40, except through the intersections where he slowed to 20. Sorry… he “sped up to” 20 after crawling out of a stop at every intersection because by the time we got to the intersections, the light was red. I finally was able to slip past him when the road widened to two lanes. Whereupon, he sped (in the right lane) up to pass all the traffic in the fast lane and skim into the lane when the right lane merged. So I KNOW that his vehicle could drive over 60.

As soon as he merged into the lane, he slowed to 40 again along the single lane with no passing allowed, and again crawled through every intersection.

Why Volvo is spending millions on automatic collision detection system is beyond me… Even if it did work, Volvo drivers would never get within 18 feet of another car in front of them to have this system kick in.

I’m glad I’m not the only person who hates Volvos and the drivers that own them.

“So why do I hate Volvo owners? Because they know damn well that if they if they ram you in your proper car, they’ll live and you’ll die. How would you act at work if you nicked a carload of office supplies, seduced the boss’s teenaged daughter and committed nine counts of aggravated fiduciary misconduct and someone else got fired for it? Now imagine how Volvo owners drive.”

I have actually heard Volvo drivers defend their driving 20 km and more below the limit by saying “I drive at that speed to be safe”. In that case, you are an idiot. Driving at 20 km below the limit doesn’t make you “safer” than other drivers. Not driving within the safe speed limit and causes other drivers to get fed up and do stupid things to get around you. That is why in Quebec and other jurisdictions, there are minimum speed limits which are usually about 10 km less than the maximum. Driving 20 km under the limit under normal road conditions is just as dangerous as driving over it.

Get over yourself and get over the mentality that the car you drive makes you a better person and therefore, a better and safer driver.

Now… don’t get me started on Subaru drivers….

PhotoHunter: Free

This week’s PhotoHunter theme is “Free”.

For want of anything better, I will post some recent photos which have to do with the theme.

Recently, we rescued two turtles who were crossing the road and in danger of getting squashed. The first we released near a river after taking it for a drive in the car (and getting liberally peed on). The second I wasn’t going to mess with and just rolled it on its back and pushed it to the other side of the road. Snapping turtles are endangered and a protected species.

These are they and they were free to go…

(more on turtle rescue, below the photos)

Blanding's Turtle

Snapping turtle. Just about to flip it...

Last summer….

Painted turtle

Another look at the Blanding’s turtle.

Isn't he cute?

... not so cute....

A few things to remember about turtle rescue…

Firstly, many turtles are endangered and the ones that are not are becoming threatened by loss of habitat. Turtles often have to move across roads to get from one wet place to another, either for mating, for food, or because a pond has dried up or been drained for development.

Thousands of turtles are killed when crossing roads every summer, either when drivers don’t see them or by drivers who deliberately run them over. Accidentally running over a large Snapping Turtle can damage your car, as well, or cause a dangerous road situation. Deliberately killing or harming endangered turtles is illegal and if you see someone do it, you should report them.

It is usually illegal for you to remove wild turtles from their habitat and keep them as a pet. They are important to our ecosystems and should be left where they are whenever possible.

If it is injured, take it to a vet.

Moving turtles is relatively easy but you should always keep your own safety in mind. Be careful when you are standing on or crossing any roadway, especially when visibility is hampered by terrain or weather. If you have someone with you, have them watch for and alert traffic to slow down or stop.

Always make sure that you are putting the turtle on the side of the road that it was heading for and far enough off the road that it won’t try and go back the way it came from.

If you know there is water nearby, take the turtle there and release it near the water (not in it, in case you’ve mistaken a tortoise for a turtle or in case the turtle is injured. You don’t want to drown it!).

Always use caution when approaching a turtle if you aren’t familiar with the various species. Snappers are extremely fast and have a longer reach than you might give them credit for.

NEVER pick a turtle, even a Snapper, up by the tail. You can use the tail to flip a Snapper over but carrying one by the tail can damage the spine. As well, they are heavy and if you drop them, despite their having a thick shell, it can do some serious damage to the shell and it hurts the turtle.

Even if a turtle only breaks the skin if it bites you, the bite can be septic, especially the bites of Snappers. They are carnivores and scavengers. If you’ve ever smelled a Snapper, you’ll know you don’t want one clamping down on your hand…

Small turtles can be lifted and carried easily but watch for claws and jaws. It probably won’t hurt very much but if you are startled by them, you could drop them.

Snappers, if they are small enough can be picked up but you would be wise to wear gloves and, if possibly throw something over them, like a jacket or blanket, just to keep their beak away from you. They have an incredible reach.

Flipping them on their back and pushing them to the side of the road is a good method of dealing with Snappers. Remember to flip them over, again!. I used my car brush to push the last one off the road.

I have used a large piece of plywood to bulldoze a very large one off the road.

I have started carrying a “turtle kit” in the car…. Water (for re-hydrating them and for washing my hands after), heavy gloves, a piece of tarpaulin, and a light snow shovel for pushing them off the road.

Many states and provinces have methods of reporting on-line both rescues and people who have killed or injured turtles. Make a careful note of where you were, the habitat, the description of the turtle, any injuries, and where you released the turtle if you transported it. Get photos if you can. I use Google Maps to pinpoint locations and to obtain the longitude and latitude.

Since I spend many a summer day on the back roads, I have rescued a number of turtles, as well as other animals, including snakes and injured birds. Every animal saved helps make up for the millions that die on our roads every year.

Feeding Chickadees

[livevideo id=F2EEA1447EE949B8AF6BDD21D4098E96]

This was filmed the day the exhaust system crapped out in the car. I FINALLY managed to get Windows Movie Maker to spit out the video. The one with the fuzzy butt was affectionately dubbed “Benjamin” as Benjamin’s nickname is “Mr. Fluffypants” (when he was a kitten, he looked as though he was wearing a pair of fuzzy pants).

Things do not always go according to plan….

cartoon-cara

In my previous posting, I mentioned that we (my mother and I) were on our way out for a much deserved jaunt after finally having gotten one of the the wheel bearings fixed in our car.

We headed out and wandered about, vaguely headed East to Lancaster, Ontario where we hoped to see if the Snow Geese were stopped on their annual migration North for the Summer. We hit Highway 2 (The King’s Higway, once the main route from Montreal Lower Canada to Toronto in Upper Canada), which follows the St. Lawrence and headed past Cardinal and Iroquois and the historic Chrysler Farm, where a battle during the War of 1812 took place. We passed Upper Canada Village, as well.

Then I spotted the large sign for the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary and turned down the dirt road headed for it. I had opened my window in order to take a photo of a historic marker along that road (see below) an as we pulled into the parking area, I noticed a rather unnerving rumbling sound from beneath my car…. It sounded as though my muffler was suddenly not as quiet as it had been just a few minutes earlier. Since I had just had it at the shop yesterday, I thought perhaps someone hadn’t tightened something and it was rumbling.

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

Introduction of Holstein Friesian cattle into Ontario - 1881

I thought “I will just have to take it in to Terry (my mechanic) on Monday, just in case…”. We visited the sanctuary and, while there weren’t any major flocks of migratory birds to see just yet, there were some lovely little chickadees and I was able to get the photos that I didn’t get during the late winter walk I posted about two weeks ago. The docent at the visitor centre gave me a little bag of seeds to feed to them and I had them eating out of my hand in no time.

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Mom’s back was hurting so we decided to head back to the main road and go on to Lancaster.

The dirt road, it should be said, was in rather a bad state after the winter. There was a great deal of corduroy-ing over the whole road and pot-holes the full length and I suspect this may have exacerbated the initial problem with the exhaust system. I decided to head immediately in to Cornwall and find a Canadian Tire with a service bay and see if they could have a look at it. I really didn’t want to have it repaired today. If my mechanic does the work, I can pay it off weekly. If I had it done at Canadian Tire, I would have to pay the full shot today… something I can’t afford.

It was already about 20 minutes to 5:00 and the CT service bay closes at 5:00 but one of the great guys there kindly came out and took me for a little test-drive and said he would hoist it and see if he could make it road-worthy, at least.

He did and discovered that the exhaust pipe had rusted apart from the muffler. They didn’t have the parts on hand, so, after splicing in a piece of pipe and two clamps and welding the pieces together, got me (quietly) back on the road again by 5:00 on the dot. I parted gratefully with $62 and change and we headed home, again. They could easily have said “Sorry, you are too late…” and sent me on my way. Instead, they took the time to diagnose the problem and give me at least a temporary remedy. I am forever grateful!

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