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Toddler’s tantrums would speed traffic

I know it sounds cruel, but in reality, it’s nothing I haven’t survived myself on more than one occasion.

When I tell other people – mostly locals – of my plan, at first they gasp at the sheer meanness of it. Then, after remembering their own unholy experiences on the road, they smile. After that, it’s uncontrollable giggles and full-body laughter.

I guess it just goes to show that thoughts tend to wander when a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)-created gridlock hems you in, and those thoughts sometimes turn nasty.



It won’t take much to implement my plan. All I really need is a set of powerful speakers superglued to the roof of my Subaru or pickup truck, a top-of-the-line graphic equalizer and a microphone. Oh yeah, I’ll also need my daughter Isabell belted into her car seat to supply the ear-splitting shrieks.

For those of you who have never experienced the sound and shock wave created by a toddler who doesn’t like car seats and who is then forced to sit still in traffic while CDOT workers sweep the streets by hand – one person actually working while 10 others lean on brooms – well, it’s an experience you will not soon forget.



The power in such a screech, if amplified by maybe 2 percent, would have the same effect as a 100-ton meteorite slamming into the earth at cosmic velocity.

The best way to visualize this kind of damage would be to watch the opening scene from the movie “Armageddon.” Like in the movie, buildings would collapse and cars would fly like Dumbo, but unlike the movie, it’s a toddler’s sound wave causing the havoc.

During my wife’s last run to Frisco, she had the rare opportunity to sit not once, but twice, while the sign flippers held up her lane of traffic.

When she finally made it to the Frisco town limits, the sun visors in our Subaru looked like blackened curly fries, and the windshield was twisted in a molten heap, and it was all caused by my daughter’s hatred of being strapped into a stationary object.

Luckily for my wife and me, even though Isabell is starting her toddler years, she seldom uses her “outside” voice. But when she does, run.

There are, of course, solutions that might save some lives or at least, a few eardrums from shredding.

CDOT could take a lesson from the airlines and at every major construction sight set up a toddler lane where people with small children get preferential treatment over the general public.

Granted, someone would have to check each passing motorist to make sure there were no fake car seats occupied by plastic, blow-up children speeding by, but I’m sure CDOT management has some leftover funds to purchase a few official stick pins for all the flaggers.

Then there is always the simplest solution, which calls for the planners at CDOT to think ahead before they schedule roadwork – especially if the work planned is minor but involves shutting down entire lanes of traffic on one of the busiest roads in the High Country during one the most congested times of year.

Work, I might add, that wouldn’t have caused half the problems if it was started two to three weeks later after the summer tourist season officially ended.

So for all the flaggers out there – and I do understand that your jobs are stressful and many times you’re on the receiving end of abuse – the next time you flip your sign to expose the stop side and you see a car with a toddler in the backseat and speakers glued to the roof, you’d better turn that puppy right around.

If I’m stuck for even a second you’ll get to share my experience, and it’s guaranteed to spin your sign right out of your hand and knock that cigarette out of your mouth.

Andrew Gmerek documents the travails of parenthood, traffic backups and the general peculiarities of life every Friday in the Summit Daily News.


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