Speed kills on back roads
It wasn’t exactly “Make Way for Ducklings” today in North Chittenden. A duckling, getting bigger and exploring farther, was eviscerated on the road in front of his own yard, by a passing motorist. What makes this little tragedy worth a letter was that this was completely unnecessary. Our road is a back road off a back road, which people are using as a shortcut, no doubt having been introduced to it by their GPS units. Like most working farms, the barnyard straddles the road. At any given time there might be a cat, several ducks, an elderly dog, or a stray lamb on the roadway. If we were able to question the driver of the vehicle that did in the duckling, the reply might go like this: “I never saw a duckling.” “Well, you obviously did see the car in front of you that was stopped. You swung around it, hitting the animal it had stopped to avoid. You had to get somewhere else fast, and forgot you were on a back-country road where you might encounter anything that requires patience and caution.”
Vermont roads appear to be little traveled to motorists who are accustomed to bumper-to-bumper metropolitan traffic. But Vermont roads require extra care for that very reason. A sleepy back road can turn into a killing ground when the motorist, bicyclist, or motorcyclist fails to drive defensively and expect the unexpected.