Monday, July 11, 2011

Highway Lanes

Just went on a family road trip to the USA. I drove 1/3 of the time. We rotated between people (my parents and I) so that no one drove for more than 2 hours. I discovered some key points about highway safety. Namely the unique identity of each lane.

Firstly the difference between a highway and a normal road is that there are no red lights or stop signs on highways. That being said cars drive faster. But you knew all that.

Highways come in 3 varieties for me, the 2-lanes, 3-lanes and 4+- lanes. I shall now attempt to use my ascii skills to explain the essentials about each lane.

2-Lane Highways

These highways are usually located in rural areas or places that don't usually get a lot of traffic.

Right-hand lane          <-- {car}      <-- [truck]  
Left-hand lane    <--- {car}     <---- {car}               <--- {car}

In Right-hand lane (90-115 km/h)

  • Trucks: they can't drive too fast, they run on a different speed limit and it's generally more dangerous if a giant truck crashes. Momentum and what not.
  • Cars getting on and off the highway
  • Cars that follow the speed limit
  • Cars that're are lazy and want to just cruise by
  • Cars that have a hard time accelerating 
In Left-hand lane (115+ km/h)
  • Cars attempting to get to their destination faster
  • Cars that are trying to overtake slower cars in right-hand lane
  • Extremely reckless drivers
3-Lane Highways

These highways are usually still found in rural or less crowded areas, but generally come from or are going to a major city.

Right-hand lane         <-- [truck]          <- {car}
Middle lane         <-- {car}               <-- {car}          <-- [truck]
Left-hand lane           <--- {car}                   <------ {car}

Right-hand Lane (90-110 km/h)
  • Trucks
  • Cars getting on and off of highway
  • Cars driving religious by the speed limit
Middle Lane (110-120 km/h)
  • Cars just cruising by
  • Some trucks
  • Cars trying to over take slow vehicles in the right-hand lane
Left-hand Lane (120+ km/h)
  • Cars trying to over take a relatively slow care in the middle lane 
  • Insane speeding drivers
Often I find that the right-hand lane can turn into a faster lane because a lazy cruising driver in the middle lane's slowing people down and people are more wary of being in the left-hand lane where the insane speeders drive. In fact these categories are just a general thing, once the left-hand lane turned into the slowest lane for me. 

I'm not going to bother commenting on highways with more than 3 lanes because there, anything goes. And there's that added complexity of the High Occupancy Lane sometimes for major highways. 

All in all, I think this road trip was extremely educational. 

Friday, July 01, 2011

Sometimes when you think all is well...

There's a problem.

I had a blood test yesterday. I don't like blood tests. It's taken me all my life to over come my general panic at seeing needles. I over came this panic by generally not looking at the needle that's about to invade my body. I also pinch myself elsewhere while the needle is being injected to distract my mind from it's presence.

And for most vaccine shots and such it works. In fact I had another blood test a while back this year during which my panic-avoiding technique also worked. But yesterday I discovered there may be another problem I need to over come when it comes to blood tests.

So here's the full story.

We got a new family doctor and she recommended I do a blood test since I show Raynaud's Sydrome. So we went to do a blood test. It was one of those 12-hour fast blood tests so I wasn't in the best mood going in, but managed to avoid the tense panic and got a tube of blood taken out. Then I looked over and mildly thought to myself, "oh hey, that's my blood." before going to do the urine sample.

As soon as I stood up I started feeling dizzy, I contributed that to my hunger. But as I got to the washroom nausea kicked in. After hyperventilating for a moment, I went back out to find the nurse and said I was feeling light-headed. By this point the room was spinning. I recall the nurse helping me me to a room and telling me to lay down. During the walk to the room there were moments when I couldn't see and the world was so surreal that I swore I was dreaming. By the time I got to the room I blacked out completely.

Luckily I was only out for a few seconds, once I laid down I'm assuming blood managed to rush back to my brain and I was able to ask for a cup of water. It wasn't really a traumatic experience, but its implications aren't good.

Early this year I was with my mom when I tripped and got a cut on my big toe while bringing my brother to his school. At the time I didn't think much of it since I've gotten cuts before and the drive home would only be 2 minutes. But I remember as soon as I sat in the car I was already feeling nauseous, and I distinctively remember pulling the seat back so I could lay down a bit. Once we got home, after getting in the house I was feeling so light-headed that I collapsed on the floor, leaving my poor mother in panic over what the heck just happened. After a moment she brought me a drink and we band-aided the cut.

With all the evidence so far I'm pretty sure I faint at the sight of my own blood. Both times of which I fainted involved me seeing my own blood. I spoke of another blood test I had earlier this year that went well, well I didn't see my blood in a tube after the test so other than the mild pain in my arm there was no sign that I had lost any blood at all. I also tend to my brother's blood wounds without a problem.

Now the question is why I didn't notice this earlier, did puberty change my psychological responses? I don't recall fainting for previous cuts or blood tests... Either way I feel like I should get to the bottom of this issue soon.