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Flowers Of Death

Every so often I see floral arrangements resting on the ground or tied to a street sign along the DC metro region’s busiest roads — Rockville Pike, Connecticut Ave, Rt 66, the hallway leading to my bedroom. People have died in horrible, mangled car accidents at these spots (excepting my hallway). Some of the impromptu memorials, presumably left by family and friends, have teddy bears or dolls among the flowers.

I wonder if these reminders of instant death from car crash cause people to drive more carefully? I bet they do. I certainly notice them, and the first thing that goes through my mind is how exactly the accident went down. Did the driver’s head cave upon impact with the windshield? Did a child fly out of the vehicle into oncoming traffic? Did the southbound car have a split second to apply the brakes and swerve over the median to avoid a head-on collision?

Someone should do a study to see if the increase of these roadside memorials over the past decade is having an effect on traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, like most things which are effective at influencing human behavior, there is probably a point of diminishing returns with the flowers of death. Maybe flowers every ten miles works well, but more than that and people become inured to them, and resume their normal tailgating/speeding/driving while texting habits.


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