In lieu of the standard burning questions, smart-aleck answers and real answers, today I’m offering a column of updates.
Update 1: First, I must take my lumps about a recent column in which I delved into why so many of us around here honk our horns while driving through the Beaucatcher Tunnel. While many of you had very entertaining reasons why you do this, ranging from the simple joy of making noise to the devilish desire to disturb amorous teenagers on the mountain, it seems I missed the boat on the historical perspective.
“After getting over the disappointment of the Answer Man not actually answering a question, I can provide the information you were unable to locate,” Kris R. Merithew, a training coordinator and instructor North Carolina Justice Academy in Edneyville, told me via email this week. “Why do people blow their horns in tunnels? The common reason people give is, ‘Because my Dad always did,’ was actually close to the factual answer.”
While the Beacatcher Tunnel, like nearly all modern tunnels, has multiple lanes (two in this case), that wasn’t always the case.
“The habit of blowing your horn in tunnels is based on early traffic safety laws requiring the act,” said Merithew, who works in the academy’s Traffic Training Center and has 26 years of law enforcement experience. “Due to the high costs of this type of infrastructure, most tunnels, bridges and mountain cuts were only a single lane wide. Only on the heaviest traveled main roadways…
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