Saturday, July 19, 2008

Blackout in Nashua, NH

This afternoon, July 19,2008, there was a blackout in parts of Nashua,NH. I was a passenger in the car with my friend (who shall remain nameless) driving up Main St. when she noticed the traffic signals were out. When we got to the plaza where we wanted to shop, we were turned away from the store because of no power. So my friend proceeded to drive me home. After driving down about three intersections with no working traffic signals, we saw further up Main St. the next traffic signal was working so we stopped at the red light. A guy in the next car started talking to me, something about the power being out. I figured it was just going to be a friendly conversation, you know, one of those moments that boundaries and walls drop just a little bit and you find it OK, during an adverse situation or being stuck in the same situation, to talk to a stranger. He complained that my friend who was driving did not stop at the traffic signals that were out, and that she was supposed to stop. He said, "you blew right by me". She did slow down at each traffic stop, and at one of them she did stop when she saw cars turning onto the main road. I didn't know what to say. I haven't driven in a while so I confess I forgot the rules about these situations, who yields to whom, etc. I just shrugged my shoulders and as the light turned green told him (and I honestly didn't mean it in a sarcastic way) to "have a nice day anyway". My friend seemed visibly upset, so I said, oh he was probably upset because of the heat and the stress of driving and whatnot. It didn't seem to soothe her at all. And besides, earlier in the day,before any power outage, when she slowed almost to a stop where there was no red light or stop sign, I waved on a car to allow him to turn onto our street, assuming that is why she slowed down. It wasn't, but she did let him go. I was mortified, and realized a passenger really shouldn't wave on another car. So who was I to tell her how to drive?

Anyway, getting back to the power outage/traffic signal dilemma, I decided to let my old pal Google enlighten me. I did find this: During a power outage when a traffic signal isn't working, stop at all intersections, then proceed with caution when traffic permits. Oops. Now I know. I won't mention it to my friend, unless she brings it up, because I am not the type to tell people they were wrong (and I think she HATES that), but I sure will tell her if I'm in the car with her and there is another power outage.

So the power is back on again, thankfully. And to that guy who we "blew" by, I'm really sorry. Thank you for enlightening us. And I hope you did have a nice day after all.

New Hampshire Driving Manual (pdf)

American Red Cross: what to do during a power outage

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