The charm of one-lane roads and bridges gets me every time.
We currently live in an area with a seemingly high number of one-lane roads and bridges. One-lane roads and bridges permit two-way travel but are not typically wide enough for two vehicles to pass each other.
This means the vehicles have to slow their roll and take turns. What a novel concept in this dog-eat-dog world.
To many people, one-lane roads and bridges are inefficient and dangerous.
For sure, they can be and it goes without saying that you need to approach one with caution because you are not the only car on the road, buster!
However, I’d hazard a wild guess that you’re still more likely to get in an accident at a traffic light or on a freeway than on a one-lane road or bridge.
So why do I find one-lane roads and bridges so charming?
Is it the architecture? Sometimes. These roads and bridges have usually been around for a long time and can be built with beautiful flourishes and intricate stonework.
Is it the setting of these roads? It can be as many of them are located in picturesque rural or semi-rural locations and cross over rivers or go under railroad tracks. What’s not to love about that?
However, for me, the largest source of the charm of one-lane roads and bridges is the driver-to-driver interaction that occurs most of the time.
No matter where in the U.S. I’ve encountered a one-lane road or bridge there seems to be an unwritten rule that most, not all, but most people follow. When one car pauses to let another car pass first on a one-lane road or bridge, the driver who gets to pass first gives a brief handwave to the driver who waited.
It’s not a boisterous wave. It’s a more subtle raise of the fingers off the steering wheel wave.
Notice I said fingers plural. Get your minds out of the gutter! These are kind interactions between drivers.
Sometimes I see the two-finger wave, but usually, it’s a four-finger wave and the thumb stays wrapped around the steering wheel.
A quick acknowledgment with a hand wave that one driver did something courteous by letting another driver pass over the bridge or through the tunnel first, is one of those important threads of connection between community members.
If we can’t be civil and courteous on the roads, how can we expect to be civil and courteous in other places?
We live in a go-go-go culture. It often feels like basic manners and politeness in many social settings can quickly go by the wayside in a culture where it’s easy to be self-absorbed and focused on your next task. I don’t know that most people are intentionally trying to be rude in these instances, but they are certainly not thinking about how their actions impact or come across to the people who coexist with them on this planet.
So if I’ve had a day where the world seems more frenetic than usual and perhaps I’ve been cut off in traffic, it is downright refreshing to come across a one-lane road or bridge and have a fellow community member give me that little wave as we take turns navigating this charming, inefficient stretch of road.
It restores a bit of my hope in humanity that maybe we can work together to make this world a little better for all of us.
What do you think about the charm of one-lane roads and bridges? Is it there or is it nonexistent to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. You can always comment on this blog post, email me here, or reach out via Instagram or Facebook.
Happy driving and safe travels!
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