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Drive Faster

A final Columbus Day lesson.

By 10.13.10

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Having made a car trip to northern New Jersey over the holiday I feel constrained to pledge never to try that again.

You can get around the Baltimore by-pass with the ease with which you can negotiate the Beltway around the District of Columbia. But there is more fun going from north to south. Right after the bridge that throws cars onto 95 South toward the District, there is a toll on the Delaware strip of the road. It was backed up nearly to the bridge exit on Sunday -- exhorting all to use the EZ-Pass lanes.

Sure. Traffic was backed up and stopped for some 45 minutes, creeping toward the toll booth. E-Z pass and otherwise. Once through, there are across-the-highway signs urging anyone who notices "something suspicious" to dial an 800 number that ends in "TIPS." My tip: "Get rid of that 4-dollar Delaware toll," or hire some more toll-takers.

Once through, the speed limit is 65 miles an hour on 95, but those who spent the better part of the day waiting to reach the toll were not about to obey such a rule. At 65 I was passed as though standing still by all those trying to make up time. Highway patrol cars were careful to stay out of their way.

This was but an incident befalling travelers over the weekend. There were many such. At times there was traffic backed up in all lanes. I had the foresight on the New Jersey Turnpike to stop at the Walt Whitman rest area for some leaves of grass.

The upshot: you cannot drive on what little asphalt exists to accommodate the growing number of cars and trucks now extant in the East. Morning finds route 95 jammed from Baltimore on south to the District. Put a holiday atop that and you have utter chaos. Columbus couldn't have stood it.

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About the Author

Reid Collins is a former CBS and CNN news correspondent.