One thing I thought I’d never see: One man waving his arms around and successfully bringing five lanes of interstate highway to a complete stop. I did today.
Seriously. About two miles west of downtown Knoxville on I-40 one of those roving yellow DOT vehicles that help stranded motorists was on the inside shoulder with his sign flashing, one word at a time, DO…NOT…PASS…ROLLING…ROADBLOCK. Problem is, it flashed them so slowly that you couldn’t make sense of them at 65 mph even if you did catch it all. Okay, so I won’t pass the rolling roadblock, but are you it? You’re not rolling, that’s for sure. That’s when I saw the dude in the yellow safety vest step into traffic waving his arms about his head. The really crazy part was that all the cars stopped without a single screeching tire. The guy just walked slowly across all five lanes motioning for them to stop, and they did! It really was surreal. There was one car in front of me. It was just bizarre. So the traffic is quickly backing up as far as I can see behind me and the guy runs about 25 yards down the road to his yellow flashy sign truck. He starts moving slowly forward, five lanes of traffic with empty highway in front of them obediently waiting and watching. He eases up behind a car, apparently disabled, and pushes it slowly from the inside shoulder, across the five lanes, to the outside shoulder. Safely on the outside shoulder now, the DOT hero guy waves us on, and it’s like if the Indy 500 had a standing start. Five-wide with nothing but empty road in front of us, we gun our engines and continue on our merry way. It’s weird driving down I-40 in the middle of the day with just a few cars populating all of that asphalt in front of me and bumper to bumper traffic filling up the rear view mirror.
The power of one guy in a yellow vest. He should have died.