Has anyone not heard “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar?
The song was based on an incident that happened to Sammy while he was driving from Albany, New York to Lake Placid. According to Sammy himself, "I was in a rent-a-car that wouldn't go much faster than 55 mph ... a cop stopped me for doing 62 on a four-lane road when there was no one else in sight. Then the guy gave me a ticket. And he said, 'We give tickets around here for over-60.' and I said, 'I can't drive 55.' I grabbed a paper and a pen, and I swear the guy was writing the ticket and I was writing the lyrics. I got to Lake Placid, I had a guitar set up there. And I wrote that song there on the spot."
When the video aired on MTV it angered law enforcement across the country and they demanded equal TV time to show the dangers of driving fast. There is also a rumor that Hagar's auto insurance was WAY high ... $5,000 a month. "I Can't Drive 55" peaked at No. 26 in the fall of 1984.
Unlike Sammy, I can drive 55 and use that ability on Sparta Highway.
I’ve covered just enough motor vehicle accidents on Sparta Highway – and everywhere else – to know I do not want to be involved in one. Because they aren’t always avoidable and because speed affects accident impact, I’ve made a habit of putting my car on cruise control (55 mph) and enjoying the music to and from work. The fact that it takes me a few extra minutes both ways means little to me.
I have a healthy respect for the forces at work during a motor vehicle accident and I’m adjusting accordingly. While I cannot control others, I can control myself.
A little extra speed can make a big difference. The force of a collision increases with each extra mile per hour. So, I’m taking it upon myself to drive 55 mph and not 65 mph. Definitely not 70 or 75.
That habit saved me from one motor vehicle collision. A White County resident (according to the tag) pulled out in front of me at the intersection in front of Dollar General – a very dangerous intersection. Extra-large stop signs and flashing lights didn’t faze her at all. Her focus was on the food she was stuffing into her mouth. If I had been going 70-75 mph, I would have slammed into her driver’s side door.
I really do not care what other motorists think. One guy decided to tailgate me with what can only be described as road rage in an attempt to make me go faster.
I thought, “Buddy, that won’t work with me.” He eventually moved into the left lane and went around.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.