It’s the Black Friday of Transportation….. Nearly 51 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles from home during the five-day period from Wednesday through Sunday, with 89 percent driving. Even those who fly (like wild turkeys), just under 8 percent, will begin and end their trip with ground transportation.
While urban drivers will encounter an endless sea of tail lights, those driving in rural areas have different concerns. Weather is a factor, as well as the errant deer that knows no crossing bounds. But there is also a hazard from the turkey that is not on your plate. Vehicle-turkey accidents are as common as car-deer collisions according to a rep from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.*
There is graphic detail in this WSBT-TV news video, courtesy of Automotive Fleet (spoiler alert: turkeys are harmed).
Next, our blog takes a U-turn and offers up a Thanksgiving chortle. It’s a spoof on our regular topics: rideshare, older people learning technology, future homes, and autonomous vehicles. So, let’s go foul and fun!
It’s A Turkey, Part One:
There are 200 organic turkeys to be delivered from the farm to a nearby processing plant. They are piled into small crates for the short trip, just three or four miles away. The truck has side curtains, so that the organic birds get open, circulated air. The turkeys are surprised by this change of routine; they drop feathers and cackle.
Little do they know that they have boarded a new “autonomous tractor trailer” (called an ATT) with no human operator. The ATT sets off on the quiet farm road, unlikely to encounter traffic.
But the road is so quiet and secluded that when night-time falls, it becomes the site for nefarious deeds. Someone has dumped a thread-bare couch on the road and it sits there, perched on its side. As the ATT slows down to veer around it, a sudden wind gust picks up the couch, and it hurtles into the side of the truck.
The next moment is filled with feathers. The cages become airborne and their doors spring loose. The turkeys, thankful to be released, run through the grasslands, and a few fly off. They pass over the factory they were supposed to reach.
Turkey, Part Two:
Meanwhile, families are making their preparations for the big day. In elementary school, kids are learning about the boat that brought the Pilgrims to this country, the Mayflower. They also recite the names of Columbus’ boats: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
One of the more precocious children asks about the first autonomous vehicles. What were they named? In a future celebration, school kids will give thanks and draw pictures of Darpa 1, Darpa 2, and Darpa 3.
Turkey, Part Three:
Grandma and Grandpa have learned the buzz and decided to give up their car. They now depend on rideshare vehicles, and there is still a driver at the steering wheel; they are not fully autonomous yet. Unfortunately, the grandparents are not always so sharp. They have not quite mastered how to use the software on their smartphone phones. It is particularly hard for them to place the pin, and they forget to check where it has automatically centered.
On Thanksgiving Day, they prepare for their trip with apple pies in hand. But they mistakenly program someone else’s address. The rideshare driver takes them to a different town and a different home for Thanksgiving. Fortunately, they are magnanimously welcomed, and the pies are shared.
It is the day after Thanksgiving, a day of frenzied shopping called Black Friday. The malls are, of course, empty because the hordes now shop online, and backroom servers work ceaselessly to keep up with the surge. Meanwhile, in midair, drones are delivering the packages. Unexpectedly, they are crashing into each other as they collide with errant flying turkeys.
Happy Thanksgiving! And Safe Travels.
*disclaimer: The turkey vs. deer statistic may be specific to rural Indiana, and these accidents normally occur during mating season, in early spring.