Shortcuts - Jan Shefler

I-15 South approaching the 52
  • I-15 South approaching the 52

Car: 2006 Ford Fusion

Previous Cars: 1994 Cadillac El Dorado, 1988 Peugeot 505 Turbo Wagon, and a 1985 Chevrolet K5 Blazer

How’s your commute? Not bad...Grossmont College area to Miramar Road.

Cheapest Gas? Arco typically has the cheapest if you pay with cash. If you’re using an ATM card, that 45 cents [card fee] makes a difference.

What’s wrong with your car? The front-wheel drive makes the turning radius much worse. The front wheels can’t be expected to handle the power and the braking while still maintaing a decent steering ratio.

What do you listen to while you drive? Talk radio, almost exclusively.

You don’t use your cell phone while you drive, do you? I just got an iPhone 4S, which has Siri and plenty of voice-activated commands. I can use it when I need to without taking my hands off the wheel or my eyes off the road.

Hitchhikers? One time, when I lived in Santa Clara. Just an older man who needed a ride someplace, only, like, a block or two.

Tickets? One speeding ticket. I was living on base in Ridgecrest, going downhill only doing 10 over. Another time, I backed into someone when I was very young, and I was crying so the policeman didn’t give me a ticket on the spot, but he had to come back later and give me one. He was very apologetic.

Accidents? I spun my Peugeot on some black ice one time on the East Coast. No real damage, but it was pretty scary.

Where do you experience the worst traffic in San Diego? I work very nice hours, [and] I usually miss most of the major slowing. But, in Germany, we would wait in an hour-long stau with simply no movement.... I’m guessing it’s because when there is an accident on the Autobahn it’s at much higher speeds, so instead of bent metal there are dead people.

What is your favorite drive? Anytime we take road trips with my family. We’ve crossed the country multiple times, and it’s always fun. No matter which car we’re driving breaks [down].

Least favorite drive? Anywhere in the vicinity of L.A. Bad, broken roads completely stopped with traffic.

Your best ShortCut? If you’re headed from the 15S to 52E and it’s backed up even a little bit, you can take Kearny Villa instead and make a right. You cut through Tierrasanta and meet up with the 52 at Santo Road. It saves only a couple minutes, but you’re moving the whole time, so it feels more productive.

What is your dream car? I’m thinking that, now with my kids out on their own, it’s time to get something sporty for me. Most Porsche 911s with some kind of fancy automatic would do well. Maybe something a little more practical and reliable, like a BMW station wagon.

What is your most interesting driving-related experience? Having to put up with these barely operational cars during my first few years of marriage. Having to start a car with a screwdriver or having to give the engine block a few good hits with a hammer before it would work properly.

Do you use any shortcuts in real life? I’ve been working on not letting things I can’t change bother me. There’s no real action involved, but there’s no point wasting energy on issues that are over and done with.

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