Shiny cars outshine drivers’ brilliance

Roads: If you build it, they will race down it.

Here’s a research problem for the scientists to ponder.

What is it that causes the apparent indirect correlation between horsepower and brainpower?

Okay. That’s unfair.

Drivers who screech their tires as they leave every stoplight are not necessarily lacking in intelligence.

It may only seem that way.

Perhaps their common sense tank is just running a bit low.

Or their stock tank coming out the factory is undersized, and they’ve been concentrating on upgrading their carburetors or fuel injectors or whatever gets the gas into their motors these days.

Other clear correlations are equally enigmatic.

For instance, the shinier a car is, the more likely its tires will scream noisily through an intersection.

And while I’m no mechanic, and in point of fact, I’ve never been terribly interested in what’s under the hood of the vehicle that I use primarily to get from one place to the next, I do know that – from a physics point of view – a car’s paint job does not in any way impact cylinder displacement or anything related to power production and its translation to the road, whether by brute force or mechanical efficiencies.

But here’s the thing.

They’ve built a shiny new road out front of our house (remember that word “shiny,” it seems to keep playing a role in the horsepower/brainpower inversion).

Shiny new blacktop has been laid down to accommodate added road width that culminates in a left turn lane at what used to be a simple four-way stop intersection just a hop, skip, and a jump from our house.

The stop signs are being replaced by a full set of traffic lights.

It’s astounding, really. The lights aren’t even fully activated, so the intersection is still technically regulated by four-way stop procedures. And yet there is already a noticeable increase in the number of screeches emanating from shiny cars equipped with motors capable of producing excessive horsepower.

I can hardly wait until summer really and truly arrives. Sunshine (which makes everything shiny) tends to draw out shiny-car enthusiasts who revel in the noisy mutual destruction of asphalt and their own tires, even without the benefit of shiny new blacktop, shiny new lines on the road, and shiny new flashing lights overhead.

And then there’s the lights… only the red ones are flashing right now. What happens when the covers are removed from the rest of the dazzling overhead display?