Unfortunately, I travel during rush hour on Cleveland’s Interstate 480. When the highway was finally completed, it immediately became the fastest expressway in Greater Cleveland. While one could argue that other freeways in the area move at a consistently fast pace, 480 has a reputation of being fast AND perilous.
I-480 is fast because it moves at a relatively straight line from its beginning point at the Ohio Turnpike and North Ridgeville across all of Cuyahoga County to the I-271 interchanges near Maple Heights. Even race car drivers have to slow down occasionally because they are traveling around curves and ovals. With all of this speed, you would think that there would be the occasional speed radar checks by local authorities…on the contrary…it is rare to see a police officer from any jurisdiction that I-480 passes through on the highway. These rare sightings seem to encourage free-for-all driving.
There are two areas of I-480 that are magnets for trouble during many a rush hour…the area near I-71 eastbound at Grayton Road near the airport, and the highway section from the Jennings Freeway (State Route 176) to the Valley View Bridge beyond I-77. These areas require the driver to pay attention to traffic flows for traffic entering the freeway, and there have been several accidents in these areas. The area near the Jennings Freeway eastbound has a blind curve where you may encounter stopped traffic as you approach I-77. I know firsthand about this issue as the car I was driving was rammed from behind by a tractor trailer carrying a load of steel three years ago.
To complicate all of this is the constant observation of distracted drivers. The distractions are primarily cell phone callers and dialing phone numbers. There is not as much texting that I can see while other drivers are moving on I-480, but I’m sure that they’re present, and I shudder at the thought of this.
On I-480, the combination of excessive speed and distracted drivers on a daily basis makes for a less-than-pleasant overall driving experience. It’s a great reason for asking your boss at work about telecommuting. Maybe one day, I will.