Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


December 10, 2012

Tidbits: Play your part to make roads safe

CROSSVILLE — I love living in a rural area. I have had opportunities through the years to chuck this country life for the hustle and bustle of the big city and, fortunately, I never took the bait.

There’s something soothing about leaving my office in the afternoon and driving down tree-lined highways to reach my castle. It’s a small piece of earth and, yes, I can see neighbor’s homes, but it still feels quiet and peaceful. My favorite drives are in the fall when the leaves are changing and in the spring and summer when everything is fresh and green and in full bloom.

One of the perks of living in a rural area such as this is getting out into the great outdoors. I live in Tansi and, as those of you that have tried to navigate those roads know, the logistics of getting from here to over yonder can be a bit more complicated than you might think. Just because common sense tells you that this road here should intersect with that road there doesn’t mean that’s the case. I spent the first six months of my residence there looking for Topaz Dr. and was certain they were coming through during the night and moving it so I couldn’t find it the next day.

Then I got a bicycle and started learning my way around and the 10 routes you can take to get from my house to Dunbar Rd.

I also like to take my dog walking up and down and around the many roads. It’s great to get out and enjoy the fresh air and let him stretch his legs after we’ve both spent the day pent up at home or at a desk.

What isn’t so great is the traffic. It’s not the volume of the traffic that bothers me so much as the speed of that traffic. Everyone seems to be in a hurry — all the time. This includes residential areas without sidewalks or even a shoulder where cars must share the pavement not only with pedestrians and leashed pets, but also with school buses, bicyclists and others. There are areas I wouldn’t dare venture without four sides of solid steel (or fiberglass, or whatever it is they’re building cars with these days).

People drive far to fast on these rural roads. I know, time waits for no man, or woman, but if you find that you are so rushed you must go 60 mph on a small, two-lane road with limited sight visibility and no shoulder, perhaps a better solution is to reevaluate your scheduling. I have been passed driving on a road in my neighborhood by people going well above 35 mph. It makes me angry and it scares me for people that might be out enjoying an evening stroll or children playing in their yards that might run into the street after a ball.

I wish this were just an isolated incident, but the county has been hearing complaints from residents all over the county about motorists with lead feet. Back in September, the Cumberland County Commission’s environmental committee discussed establishing a uniform policy for setting speed limits in rural residential areas. The residents of the Breckenridge Lake area have been trying to find a solution for two years but there is not yet a solution. Just the other day, I had a call from a concerned citizen regarding speeding on Highland Lane, often used as a shortcut from the Homestead area to Hwy. 70 E, and the trouble it is causing homeowners there. She said a fence has been repaired numerous times after someone going too fast loses control.

State law allows counties to set a county-wide speed limit and to then change it to meet the unique needs of specific areas. For example, there are many roads where 45 to 55 mph would be completely reasonable and safe. In other areas, the safety of residents and motorists alike might be better served with a much lower speed limit.

I urge the county to get on with this. While they’re at it, additional funding to the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department to aid in enforcement of speed limits would be nice. However, at the end of the day, making the roads safe for everyone requires us all to work together.

Motorists, slow down. Give yourself time to get where you’re going without driving like a madman. And if you are running late, remember that there’s no where you have to be so important you need to risk you life or the lives of others to get there.

Remember to obey traffic laws. According to the Tennessee Driver Handbook, the Basic Speed Rule, which is not a Tennessee law but a general safety principal, teaches that the speed you may drive is limited by conditions that include weather conditions, visibility, road surface and width and structure of the road, such as being narrow or with curves. Drivers should drive fast enough not to block or interfere with other vehicles moving at normal speed and speed should be adjusted to conditions so that the car can stop within a clear distance ahead. Using that information, I’d love to see someone explain how driving in excess of 45 mph is possibly safe on a road such as Big Horn Dr.

To the residents, don’t assume drivers are going to see you and stop. If you’re out running or walking near a roadway, stay aware of what’s going on around you. Be prepared to move over should a car come your way. If you’re taking an evening walk and it’s near dusk, take a flashlight and wear reflective clothing so you can be seen. If the driver can’t see you, they can’t stop. And, even if the car isn’t going extremely fast, you don’t want to pit all that metal against flesh and bone because it’s usually a losing proposition.

If you’re walking in the road and a car is approaching you, move to the shoulder or ditch. Yes, I know it’s not fun to walk in tall grass, but it’s only for a few seconds while the car goes around you.

Encourage your county commissioners to keep working on this issue and show support for our law enforcement officers helping to keep our roads safe, but let’s not forget we have a responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors to drive safely. We shouldn’t need flashing blue lights in our rear-view mirror to remind us.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Time for an oil change

    The land of Iraq, earlier known as Mesopotamia, has a long history going back to Neanderthal times some 60,000 years ago. Later, around 10,000 years ago, it became the site for some of the most important developments in human history: the invention of the wheel, planting of cereal crops, the development of cursive script, mathematics, astronomy and agriculture. Today it is recognized as one of the cradles of civilization.

    July 8, 2014

  • We the People: American women, be informed and vote

    Voting for today’s Republican Party and its Tea Party members, means you are voting against more than most realize.  This is especially true for women.

    July 8, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014