You Drive Me Crazy: Driving In The Cape Fear Area

Young Old Fart says…

When I first arrived in Wilmington, one of the few things I was looking forward to was a more relaxed driving environment. I was so wrong. I never thought it would be possible, but I have actually found a place that has worst drivers than NJ. If you’ve ever driven on the NJ Turnpike, you would know that when I say this is unbelievable, it is honestly shocking. Lucky for me I was stuck on the UNCW campus Mon-Fri, and over weekends, I would just mooch off my parents for rides. However, my mother (YAH) realized how I was avoiding driving here AT ALL COSTS. I mean, I could only use “I don’t feel like going out today” or “My contacts are bothering my eyes and my glasses give off a glare,” for so long. But, who could blame me? I was terrified (honestly, I still get very anxious when I am behind the wheel here.)! Everyday we would see at least two accidents, and that would be just driving to the local Wal-Mart. Once, when we drove to the beach I counted SIX! Maybe I was/am being a baby…silly me, wanting all my limbs to stay functioning.

Anyway, I have this theory that all these accidents are due to two distinct factors:

1) Wilmington consists of mainly retirees (aka people who leave their blinkers on and drive 20mph under the speed limit) and college students (aka children who apply makeup and text while driving, go 20mph over the speed limit, and blast their music to the point that anyone who isn’t completely deaf can hear them coming from miles away…because obviously all of this is “like totally fine”)

2) There are some unusual driving laws/lights/road signs around here.

As far as the freaky rules go, the one I find the most disturbing is u-turns. Basically, it’s legal to u-turn around any median and at any light unless indicated otherwise (which honestly, it never is). Why is this a problem? Well, often you’ll get people wanting to do multiple things at the same time and no one knows who has the right of way/doesn’t care if you do. What does this lead to? A four car pile-up.

Something else that really bothers me is how people constantly sit in the back of trucks and don’t seem to worry about being ejected out. This wouldn’t give me the jeepers creepers if the average speed limit around here was below 45mph, but it’s not. If I were a parent, my child would never be in a car without airbags/safety belts.

Finally, some lights in the Cape Fear area make NO SENSE! Often, you’ll see a quadruple rowed light that is sporting three different arrows, all the colors of the rainbow, and five signs around it. Normally everyone just does what they consider is appropriate, and yet again, what does this lead to? No, not a four car pile-up. But, a head-on collision, two rear-enders, and one side swipe.

Well, hopefully, I’ve at least prepared you for the insanity that is driving in the Cape Fear area. I suggest you bring some good insurance, a car you don’t like, courage, and a helmet. God’s speed.

Kittens and fudge,

YOF

Young At Heart says…

It is my firm belief that we need a national driver’s license in the great old U.S.A. Living in many states for many years, I can personally attest to the aggravation of trying to get a new license every single time one moves…barring our military personnel of course. With a lot of states, one must take a written test to prove that one now knows the laws of the road for that particular state. Now mind you…one can still have had accidents, tickets, etc. but for some reason the bureaucracy believes that filling in little circles with a number two pencil or clicking on a little circle proves that one knows how to operate a car….NOT!

Wilmington is proof! It has the highest car insurance rate in the state of NC (not that knowing this prior to moving here would have changed my mind). My agent explained that it’s due to the demographics here. OK, let me explain this. Lots of seniors and lots of college students = lots of car accidents=high insurance rates in Wilmington. Now add this little tidbit to the laws of the roads here, a downpour of rain at any given moment (you know the term hydroplaning), and drivers that insist on texting and talking on their cell-phone while driving and you can imagine the pile up rate. It is high. Almost every single day I see at least one accident while driving, and more often two to three.

Now, let me count the causes for accidents. First, u-turns that confuse everyone (as YOF said). Personally, I always wait until I know any possible driver, doing any possible thing, has vacated the area and THEN, and only then, do I proceed to do my u-turn.

Second, we have another neat little ditty that I just know causes accidents: the middle lane (in some areas) that is for drivers to use when making a left turn/right turn. Unfortunately, I have seen drivers use this lane to pass in, park in, and just about anything else but its intended purpose.

All in all, the Cape Fear is a great place to live in. But unfortunately, it is also an accident just waiting to happen, and just as unfortunate…you will pay the price.

Dented KISS,

YAH

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Life Can Be A Beach: Review of Wrightsville Beach

THE HEARTS (pros): Free, clean, good for water activities, some free parking spaces, close to Wilmington, family oriented, lifeguards are on duty

THE FARTS (cons): Most parking is charged, no public bathrooms, no public transportation, doesn’t have a boardwalk

Young At Heart says…

This beach reminds me of the fifties when I spent weeks roaming the NJ coastlines. Here is a beach lined with well kept homes and an open expanse of pleasant white sand. The only difference is that Wrightsville doesn’t have a boardwalk but it does have some stores near the main entrance. Beach goers here are an eclectic  mix of families, singles and retirees. I would definitely pack an umbrella,  cooler full of goodies (food is allowed on this beach but no alcohol) and camera (one can get great beach pictures). The sand is pleasant on the feet and the water is great!  We had a blast swimming (lifeguards are on duty), sea shell finding and just checking out all the visitors and locals. I am embarrassed to say that Young at Heart enjoyed the lifeguards more than Young Old Fart. Definitely worth the trip if you enjoy swimming, boogie boarding or just a great day basking in the sun! Don’t forget the sunscreen and the best part…..THIS BEACH IS FREE.  Definitely a day on a dime!

KISS,

Young At Heart

Young Old Fart says…

Ah, Wrightsville Beach, the cause of 2.0 GPAs and sun-burnt Freshmen at UNCW. As you may or may not know, the beach is the main reason kids apply to my beloved college. Funny, you would assume that such a popular hotspot for collegians would provide transportation (free or not). However, this is not the case. Though “The Wave” (Wilmington bus transportation) plops students almost anywhere in the town for free, it cannot shuttle them to Wrightsville Beach. Why, you may ask? Well, Wrightsville Beach is a completely separate town from Wilmington, thus, Wilmington transportation has no legality there. Alas, my fellow Seahawks must fend for themselves and either hitch rides with their roomies, bike it, or sprout wings and fly. While Wrightsville doesn’t charge admission (yay!), they don’t provide public bathrooms and parking can be a…well, a beach (boo!). Basically, if you have to pee you have two options: 1) buy a two dollar water bottle at the local pizzeria to gain access to their coveted restrooms OR 2)use the ocean to your advantage (makes you wonder what everyone is doing out in the big blue…). As far as parking goes, it is Wrightsville’s main revenue. So, you can either park in the few and golden free spaces (like the church parking lot located before the bridge on your left) or pay a fee. Note: if you are using meter parking, I would pay for more time than you expect to be on the beach so you don’t have to be the chosen loser running in their wet trunks adding money later in the day. Overall, Wrightsville is pleasant. It’s clean and it’s a hop away from Wilmington (unless you’re driving during peak summer hours).

Kittens and fudge,

Young Old Fart

P.S. Don’t try and have TOO much fun at Wrightsville…alcohol is prohibited(so are dogs, at least during the summer)!