Warning: Rock
October 29, 2019 3:38 AM   Subscribe

Having a rough day? At least you’re (probably) not another victim of the West Omaha car-catching rock.
posted by Etrigan (103 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
 
My. Such variety!
posted by From Bklyn at 4:16 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


I love the rock!
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:24 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


They are all so weirdly balanced with no apparent bodywork damage it's like a kid's put their toy car down on a rock.

But anyway, yeah it is of no surprise to me - a cyclist - that drivers can't see a big rock when they often miss seeing a cyclist in an orange jacket, yellow cycle helmet, on a giant cargo bike with bright flashing lights.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:43 AM on October 29 [40 favorites]


I love the rock!

Yeah, it rocks!
posted by Green-eyed grenade at 4:45 AM on October 29


Rock on!

I worked at a place that had one of these. While I never saw anything as dramatic as this, we did have to move the rock back to its corner after it had been dragged out of place by a truck more than once.
posted by rodlymight at 5:03 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Cribbing from the comments on the linked thread: the usual defense of drivers who ship car-wreck is "I'm up high in my truck/SUV and from that vantage point the rock is too low to see." In point of fact the rock (which is ON THE CURB they had to intentionally drive over to cut the corner, mind you) is taller than a child.

In conclusion, getting a driver's license should have the same requirements as getting a pilot's license.
posted by Mayor West at 5:10 AM on October 29 [48 favorites]


In Massachusetts, we solved this problem by.having lots more of these rocks.
posted by ocschwar at 5:12 AM on October 29 [29 favorites]


They are all so weirdly balanced with no apparent bodywork damage it's like a kid's put their toy car down on a rock.

I take a little solace in the fact that those cars all have PLENTY of body damage, it's just not on the shiny parts. I bet we could spot broken axles, exhaust systems torn off, punctured gas tanks and oil lines... when you fuck up the bottom of your car, it gets REALLY expensive, and hopefully their insurance policies have a gross-stupidity clause.
posted by Mayor West at 5:13 AM on October 29 [13 favorites]


West Omahans practicing cutting the kerb, for their F1 tryout?
posted by Thorzdad at 5:21 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


This is excellent.

But now I want a version of this rock that doles out impartial justice to people who make right turns from the left lane, totally ignore stop signs, or who don't turn on their headlights in the rain / in the dark. Or people who drive tall pickup trucks with SUPER FREAKING BRIGHT lights because they think blinding everyone else ensures their own safety...
posted by Foosnark at 5:31 AM on October 29 [14 favorites]


Dang, this is so satisfying!
posted by spindrifter at 5:31 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


On the high up defense, yea you cannot see it high up that’s why you needed to look ahead before you got to the rock, before making the sharp turn into it. It’s a large rock. It’s not trying to hide or anything. Just admit to being an idiot and get it over with.
posted by jmauro at 5:32 AM on October 29 [15 favorites]


There's a negative-space equivalent of this in a parking lot near me: a curb-island with enough of a drop that it eats most wheels and leaves the car hanging on its suspension arm (if they're lucky) or its sump (if they're not).
posted by scruss at 5:34 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Now they just need to put a really low overpass there to get bad drivers from top and bottom.
posted by TedW at 5:47 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


My. Such variety!
SUVs second biggest cause of emissions rise, figures reveal.

Growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018, an analysis has found.

In that period, SUVs doubled their global market share from 17% to 39% and their annual emissions rose to more than 700 megatonnes of CO2, more than the yearly total emissions of the UK and the Netherlands combined.

No energy sector except power drove a larger increase in carbon emissions, putting SUVs ahead of heavy industry (including iron, steel, cement and aluminium), aviation and shipping.

If SUV drivers were a nation, they would rank seventh in the world for carbon emissions.
posted by chappell, ambrose at 5:53 AM on October 29 [36 favorites]


Well, with the 11'8" bridge being rebuilt, I guess this will have to do.
posted by Hatashran at 6:01 AM on October 29 [16 favorites]


I would vote that rock for mayor.
posted by saladin at 6:09 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Needs more bell and jingle.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 6:10 AM on October 29 [17 favorites]


One era ends, and another begins...
posted by gwint at 6:23 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


"I'm up high in my truck/SUV and from that vantage point the rock is too low to see." In point of fact the rock (which is ON THE CURB they had to intentionally drive over to cut the corner, mind you) is taller than a child.

Something that bugs the shit out of me is that, when gas prices came down after their $4/gallon high about ten years ago, SUV sales started rising again. I don't even mind crossovers so much--a lot of them really look like station wagons that have started working out--but my apartment parking lot has become stuffed with these behemoths that are probably costing their owners a small fortune in fuel bills (and, if they're living in my apartment building, they probably can't afford extra expenses). The Rock is my new hero.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:25 AM on October 29 [19 favorites]


At least you’re (probably) not another victim of the West Omaha car-catching rock

Hey, I think you're being just a bit unfair to the rock here. I mean, there's the rock, just sort of sitting there, clearly enjoying its nice sunny space, feeling like it's perfectly safe in just being a big damn highly visible rock, and bam, yet another asshole trying to park on top of it. That's not only going to ruin the rock's day, it probably causes chipping and scuffing. Poor rock.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:27 AM on October 29 [12 favorites]


Cribbing from the comments on the linked thread: the usual defense of drivers who ship car-wreck is "I'm up high in my truck/SUV and from that vantage point the rock is too low to see."
I've maintained for a while now that we could solve a lot of the problems of people owning monster trucks for their day to day stuff by simply requiring anyone who wants to drive one get a CDL instead of a regular driving license.

No sale of big trucks and SUV's without proof of a CDL. Anyone caught driving one with a regular driving license subject to large fines and on further offenses confiscation of the vehicle in question.

It'd cut down on pollution, make everyone safer, and improve traffic. So naturally it'll never happen because of the combination of auto makers who want the bucks monster trucks bring in and douchebags who tie their identity to driving a monster truck instead of a real car.

TL;DR: The rock is great and we need more of them to cause more damage to carelessly driven trucks and SUV's!
posted by sotonohito at 6:31 AM on October 29 [27 favorites]


As they say...

Welcome to the Rock.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:32 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


I fucking love this.
posted by sperose at 6:35 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


For those bemoaning the demise of the 11’ 8” bridge, there are others out there. My favorite anecdote regarding that particular bridge was from many years ago and involved a driver who apparently learned physics by watching cartoons and after hitting the bridge said that he thought by going really fast his truck would scrunch down and make it under the bridge.

Okay, no more bridge derails from me; y’all keep on rockin’ and rollin’!
posted by TedW at 6:35 AM on October 29 [7 favorites]


I work for a property management company, and we have a few of these rocks and poles. They're painted a nice, bright yellow. They are there, as they say, for a reason. And every now and then, I get to deal with irate drivers who damaged their truck (it's always a truck) by driving into the rock, and now want us to pay to fix their truck. They are SO MAD! The rock was IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE! They are going to SUE US!

Yeah, yeah. Sure.

My usual letter goes something like "In instances of collision between a moving vehicle and a stationary object, the collision is not usually the fault of the stationary object." If they press the issue, I raise the point that the rock is the same height as a small child, and if they had hit a child, would they still be saying the same thing?

We have never been sued on truck vs. rock files. But sometimes it takes a while for them to go away. Those files make my day much longer.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:36 AM on October 29 [63 favorites]


I support more rocks and fewer tall hedges that grow all the way to the curb and obstruct the view of traffic for anyone trying to turn onto the road.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 6:41 AM on October 29 [13 favorites]


Personally, I do the Rock.

Well, it's stimulating!
posted by SansPoint at 6:48 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


Long live rock, be it dead or alive.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:49 AM on October 29 [10 favorites]


I am somewhat curious what that rock looks like from a driver's vantage point such that it's getting hit so very often. Does it blend in with the color of the parking lot or the building behind it or something? Does the way the grass ends make it look like the curb also ends there to someone who is not really paying as much attention as they should be?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:50 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Omaha
Somewhere in middle America
Get right to the rock of matters
It's the rock that matters more
posted by kirkaracha at 6:53 AM on October 29 [14 favorites]


jmauro: On the high up defense, yea you cannot see it high up that’s why you needed to look ahead before you got to the rock, before making the sharp turn into it.

The first comment on Imgur: some protest that the rock is too hard to see from many high vehicles, despite that it is larger than a child

There was some news-type clip where, to illustrate the blind spot behind SUVs (or maybe cars in general?), they put a bunch of actual babies behind a car, and showed how they were all hidden by the structure of the car, from the point of view of the driver.

My wife and I, being sassy jerks, laughed at that clip, and have occasionally said "watch out for the babies!" when backing up. But really, watch out for babies. And children. And all pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in wheelchairs. Also, bushes, trees, rocks, and the frickin' curbs.



chappell, ambrose: Growing demand for SUVs was the second largest contributor to the increase in global CO2 emissions from 2010 to 2018, an analysis has found.

And has also offset the increased fuel efficiency of hybrid vehicles, not to mention alternative fuel vehicles in general, in terms of U.S. gas taxes.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:08 AM on October 29 [8 favorites]


There’s a mall in Denver that used to have decorative rocks of this sort, including one in particular that kept catching cars just like this. I mean, I guess they just removed the rock rather than make it a meme, but I did always wonder what was going on there. It was just one of the rocks, so there had to be something more going on there than just "dumb driver no look."

Of course, I suspect those rocks are meant to discourage drivers from cutting over the curb at the ends of the aisles, tearing up the curb and the landscaping, so if it takes a combination of some neat optical illusion and the sort of driver who’d do that, I still don’t have a ton of sympathy.
posted by gelfin at 7:23 AM on October 29 [7 favorites]


I was expecting to see a lower, more angled rock, but that one is big and, as far as I can see in the photographs, very visible.

In one photo you can see that there is at least one other rock earlier in the curve; that makes me wonder if from the drivers' perspective the second rock is hidden during part of the turn or something. But probably it is just inattention combined with the terrible sight lines a lot of vehicles have these days.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:27 AM on October 29 [2 favorites]


This is where I want to be like, okay, that's in West Omaha, where nobody knows how to drive, and is not some kind of reflection of where I actually live/work, right? But seriously, I know I'm a nervous driver, but that side of town has resulted in me running into enough random dangerous driving that I now need a very good reason to go further west than 96th.
posted by Sequence at 7:38 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


People who get around primarily on foot or by bike and are used to reading about "accidents" where a driver killed a person with their own negligence will be very familiar with the driver-exculpatory language of "car-catching rock" here. At least in this case the blame is being displaced onto an inanimate object instead of a dead human.
posted by valrus at 7:46 AM on October 29 [40 favorites]


"This is where I want to be like, okay, that's in West Omaha, where nobody knows how to drive, and is not some kind of reflection of where I actually live/work, right?"

I've never lived somewhere that wasn't notorious for it's shitty drivers in some fashion. I have to conclude that geographic region has nothing to do with the shittiness of drivers, shitty driving is just an inherent trait of the species.
posted by GoblinHoney at 7:48 AM on October 29 [18 favorites]


Google maps link

If they turned it around so the sloping side wasn't angled toward the drive entrance then cars wouldn't be ramped up to get high-centered on the other side, and then they could have the same traffic control and none of the towing. But that wouldn't be as funny I guess?
posted by adiabatic at 7:50 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


There’s a mall in Denver that used to have decorative rocks of this sort, including one in particular that kept catching cars just like this.

Decorative and functional!
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:00 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


I almost didn't make it off that rock
posted by hortense at 8:00 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Moab, bro. Bro, Moab. Moab, bro.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:11 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


I am in fact having a bad day and this made it a little better. We need these rocks between all traffic lanes and bike lanes.

I do think it's a little morbid noting it's the size of a small child. Back overs are one of the leading causes of death for little ones, and if they happen in a private driveway or parking lot, they aren't counted in traffic fatality statistics
posted by CostcoCultist at 8:22 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


Silence! and preserve respectful distance.
For I perceive approaching
The Rock. Who will perhaps answer our doubtings.
The Rock. The Watcher. The Stranger.
He who has seen what has happened
And who sees what is to happen.
The Witness. The Critic. The Stranger.
The God-shaken, in whom is the truth inborn.


Enter the ROCK , led by a BOY :

T.S. Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock"
posted by thatwhichfalls at 8:27 AM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Get a Piece of the Rock!
posted by TedW at 8:45 AM on October 29




auto makers who want the bucks monster trucks bring in

Not to mention the fact that SUVs have lower emission standards than regular cars, making them cheaper to manufacture.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:57 AM on October 29 [9 favorites]


This is Just To Say

I have mounted
the rock
that was in
the parking lot

and which
you were probably
saving
for geology class

Forgive me
it was obvious
so hard
and so old
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:12 AM on October 29 [16 favorites]


clawsoon: I suspect this would have different results for drivers who've been motorcyclists. When I see a motorcycle, or a bike, I mentally flag it as "must pay extra attention" because in motorcycle safety classes I was taught that cars have problems seeing (or potentially remembering) motorcycles, as well as correctly judging their speed. I assume this is more so for bikes. I'm *very* aware anytime there's a motorcycle around me when I'm driving.

In theory, teaching this in driver's ed, could also help drivers to mentally pay extra attention to motorcycles/bikes. But that would count on student drivers actually considering this to be important and something to be aware of, instead of trivia and they'll never get in an accident because they're 16 and immortal.
posted by nobeagle at 9:12 AM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Hang up and drive, morons.
posted by davelog at 9:19 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Wait a second - don't you have to drive up *onto a curb* before you even get to the rock?
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:43 AM on October 29 [8 favorites]


> RustyBrooks:
"Wait a second - don't you have to drive up *onto a curb* before you even get to the rock?"

That could contribute to them getting onto the rock though.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 9:49 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


I kind of assumed Bob Seger would have have made an appearance by now.

So. I'll just leave this here:

Like a rock, underneath an SUV
Like a rock, nothin' ever got to me
Like a rock, I was something to see
Like a rock
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:49 AM on October 29 [8 favorites]


my name is rok
and here i sit
so pashently
i wait a bit
here comes a roar
it mised the tree
but i got it
an S U V
posted by lharmon at 10:04 AM on October 29 [42 favorites]


Lou Reed:

My name is rock
Thanks a lot
I know you're headed to the parking lot
You've never seen the likes of me
Now I'm wedged up under your SUV
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:17 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


> There's a negative-space equivalent of this in a parking lot near me: a curb-island with enough of a drop that it eats most wheels and leaves the car hanging on its suspension arm (if they're lucky) or its sump (if they're not).

This suddenly brought back a memory. A parking lot where the entrance and exit gaps in the pavement were separated by a tiny lozenge of curb, and I sat watching once as someone nuzzled their car around it, apparently convinced that they couldn't fit through either side. They attempted driving directly over it, until the crrrnching persuaded them to crrrnch backwards and try a different solution, which was to drive one wheel up over the lozenge, inevitably slam the underside of their car on it, crrrnch slowly the whole way along, and pop the back wheel over.
posted by lucidium at 10:19 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


I should note that I was in line to get my driver's license renewed this afternoon, so I've had plenty of time to think about this.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:19 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Wait a second - don't you have to drive up *onto a curb* before you even get to the rock?

That could contribute to them getting onto the rock though.


Yeah, that's a very sloped curb, as opposed to the typical more squared-off one that would be more likely to fend off any short-cutters in the first place. Maybe that's why the additional rock was needed.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:21 AM on October 29


Or, on non-preview, most short-cutters other than the ones lucidium mentions above.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:22 AM on October 29


The thing about SUVs in the USA is that for a long time, they have been more profitable:
- The Chicken Tax meant that American manufacturers weren't facing foreign competition
- SUVs are exempt from car safety standards
- SUVs are exempt from CAFE ratings

So manufacturers advertised these, and people bought them. Eventually foreign manufacturers started building SUVs in the USA too, so there was competition, and consumers demanded better safety protection, so the manufacturers had to play along with that. The advantage to manufacturers has diminished, but it still seems to be there. All along, they will tell us they're just selling people what they want, but that strikes me as a bit of a chicken and egg problem.

Now we're at a point where it's almost impossible to buy an old-fashioned station wagon in the USA. Ford has announced they won't sell any cars in the USA at all except the Mustang. VW is rumored to be discontinuing the Golf, and Honda the Fit, so a lot of options are being entirely foreclosed while it seems that every manufacturer has four different kinds of SUV to choose from. Motorists think they're "safer" in big, high-riding vehicles—never mind the dangers they pose to others, or their fallacious ideas about safety in the first place.
posted by adamrice at 10:27 AM on October 29 [16 favorites]


Right up the street from my old house had an intersection with a sharp turn, a concrete island to discourage left turns from cutting too close (which may run head-on into other traffic approaching the intersection) and a full size street sign illustrating that the island was present, and not to run into it.

That sign was replaced literally *dozens* of times in the years I lived there - in some cases I saw the new sign installed in the morning, and it was flattened before I got back from work in the afternoon. I wanted to petition it to be replaced with a seven foot spike studded concrete pylon, or possibly an incredibly dense statue of the Virgin Mary or something to cause both intense structural and psychological damage to the imbeciles that were so deeply committed to obliviousness.
posted by FatherDagon at 11:17 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


The rock sleeps only because it is fed. It drinks oil and transmission fluid and the tears of careless drivers. Be thankful that it receives tribute. Pray it does not wake up.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:28 AM on October 29 [21 favorites]


This rock wants a piece of you.

But I didn't notice any SUVs stuck on it in the gallery of photos.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Will the compilation album of car-catching rock songs and poems be available from MeFi Projects before I finish my holiday shopping?
posted by ejs at 11:34 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


so a lot of options are being entirely foreclosed while it seems that every manufacturer has four different kinds of SUV to choose from.

I just bought a new car, and ended up considering only two models (and test driving only one) because I wanted a hatchback that was not an SUV or crossover. In my price range there were remarkably few options. When I bought my previous car 15 years ago, I remember there being several. Wherefore art thou, hatchbacks and wagons?

My old car had died in a way that it wasn't safe to drive without sinking another $500 into it, so I rented a car to take time pressure off a new purchase. The rental place had limited stock, so I got "upgraded" to a Ford Edge. Driving that thing was TERRIFYING - I felt like I couldn't see anything around me and that I was completely disconnected from the road environment. As an avid cyclist and pedestrian, I am quite conscious of looking for other road users when I am driving a car, but vehicles like that actively work to prevent an accurate assessment of what is around you even if you are trying. (And somehow a bunch of cameras are supposed to make up for that?) And of course most people are not trying - they are too busy looking at the computer screens built into their dashboards or checking their facebook pages on their phones.

My first car was a '95 Jeep Cherokee, so I've done the SUV thing, but even that was small - and certainly had better visibility - compared to the size of SUVs today.

I love the rock!
posted by misskaz at 11:46 AM on October 29 [4 favorites]


Will the compilation album of car-catching rock songs and poems be available from MeFi Projects before I finish my holiday shopping?

♬ Caught by rock doo doo doo-doo-doo-doo,
Caught by rock doo doo doo-doo-doo-doo,
Caught by rock ♫
posted by Mayor West at 11:49 AM on October 29 [7 favorites]



I've never lived somewhere that wasn't notorious for it's shitty drivers in some fashion. I have to conclude that geographic region has nothing to do with the shittiness of drivers, shitty driving is just an inherent trait of the species.


Never underestimate the level of "Wtf were you thinking?" you'll witness from drivers.

In my hometown, the commuter rail train track cuts across our (small) but very busy main street. When I first moved here, the gates were designed in such a way that if you were *really* motivated, you could do this completely impractical "S"-shaped driving maneuver, which in theory would let you cross even with the gates down.

I say "in theory" because noone would be insane enough to try to cross a train track with all the lights flashing, bells clanging and the gates down, right?

To my astonishment, over a period of 10 years I saw (with my own eyes!) two people do this maneuver, and then 5 years ago a woman tried to do the same thing only to get "stuck" between the gates. Luckily, noone was severely injured, but a train that included a few dozen passengers collided with and then demolished her car. (There were witnesses to the accident who stated that she was not exactly "stuck" but had panicked after slipping past the first gate and stalled.)

A few months later, the state completely redesigned that intersection to make this maneuver more difficult. But it's basically just a high-tech version of the Warning Rock and I hold little hope that someone won't try again because they need to get home before the game starts or whatever.
posted by jeremias at 11:59 AM on October 29 [5 favorites]


This is a fantastic perspective on the old Chevy "Like a Rock" commercials.
posted by riverlife at 12:14 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


We have one of these in Calgary! the Sage Hill Rock
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:28 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


But now I want a version of this rock that doles out impartial justice

We can call it Rock Dredd.
posted by Naberius at 12:29 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


It hungers.
posted by tommasz at 12:32 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Somebody drove onto a rock
And there they saw a rock
It wasn't a rock
It was a rock lobster
posted by kirkaracha at 12:52 PM on October 29 [11 favorites]


While I loathe car culture and SUVs, and while I have just as much schadenfreude as the next person, that rock is just bad design if drivers are consistently not seeing it, unless your purpose is to cause expensive damage and expense to people by catching them unawares; in other words, play a mean trick on them and indulge our anti-road rage. A good design would instead make it impossible for people to cut the corner, if that's the real purpose.

I (occasionally) drive a small low-to-the ground car, and I'm terminally cautious, but I still get confused by curbs and even once (in the dark, by mistake) drove over a low median in a parking lot that damaged my underside.

People keep comparing the rock to a kid in terms of height, but the reason kids get hit by school buses and people not waiting for school buses is that kids run into traffic and between vehicles all the time and they're hard to see no matter who you are or how carefully you're driving. That's why they put up signs on the buses, crossing guards and signs in the intersections, and why we teachers always made the kids sit down when we were doing bus duty.

The rock is a trap. Traps are fun for all and sundry, but they're not particularly preventive of cutting turns except for the drivers who got entrapped, and probably not even then.
posted by Peach at 12:55 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


I think it's intended to be as punitive as everything else in US society.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 12:58 PM on October 29 [5 favorites]


I don't think expecting drivers to keep their cars on the road counts as a trap.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:59 PM on October 29 [18 favorites]


I don't think expecting drivers to keep their cars on the road counts as a trap.

You probably see removing the rock as pandering to bad drivers. But do you want to be right, or do you want to increase safety, and reduce collisions and insurance claims?

Similar arguments are made about just about everything that could catch some dupe unaware. Why put a cage around that manhole? Pedestrians should watch where they're going! I know I do!!
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:10 PM on October 29 [7 favorites]


the reason kids get hit by school buses and people not waiting for school buses is that kids run into traffic and between vehicles all the time and they're hard to see no matter who you are or how carefully you're driving

Except that apparently something the size of a child that is completely stationary and completely visible does, in fact, get hit by cars on a regular basis. I don't know how you can possibly justify this. It's enormous. If you can't see something of that size by the side of the road when you go to make a sharp turn, you should under no circumstances be driving.

The argument that this should be less of a burden for drivers IS the "pedestrians should watch where they're going" argument, here. Drivers are the ones in giant metal boxes that have been designed to keep them safe even in collisions. Pedestrians are not. If you cannot prevent yourself from hitting large stationary objects, you are plainly driving in a way that is unsafe for everybody around you. The rock doesn't scare me, as a driver. The people who hit the rock scare me, even when I'm in a car, but they terrify me in the context of walking anywhere in this town.
posted by Sequence at 1:34 PM on October 29 [13 favorites]


It's telling that these are all trucks, SUVs, and sedans with glasshouses the size of machine gun nest emplacements. Ain't no-one hitting that rock in their Miata, Fiesta, or Flex.
posted by MarchHare at 1:49 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


I'm a pedestrian. I don't drive. There's an attitude that seems to pervade—not all, but clearly a significant portion of—drivers that anyone using the road that isn't in a car doesn't matter. The road belongs to them and their car. Drivers feel they should be able to drive anywhere, including over curbs. Drivers feel they should be able to stop in crosswalks, and turn against the light, even when people are crossing the street. Drivers feel they should be able to park in any open space, even if that's been set aside for bikes, busses, or pedestrians. This includes the sidewalk in many places. This is what I have learned from 36 years of walking around major cities.

And it needs to end. It has a body count.

Until it does, though, I will feel no shaden in my freude about seeing idiot drivers high centering their cars on a fucking rock because they don't want to drive safely.
posted by SansPoint at 1:49 PM on October 29 [8 favorites]


A good design would instead make it impossible for people to cut the corner, if that's the real purpose.

Exactly! They should put a large, immobile object there, making it so impossible for people to cut the corner that their vehicle will be disabled if they try!
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:49 PM on October 29 [19 favorites]



Where was I? I forgot
The point that I was making
I said if I was smart that I would
Save up for a two ton truck
And a rock to wind the truck around

posted by MarchHare at 1:56 PM on October 29 [7 favorites]


You probably see removing the rock as pandering to bad drivers. But do you want to be right, or do you want to increase safety, and reduce collisions and insurance claims?

Similar arguments are made about just about everything that could catch some dupe unaware. Why put a cage around that manhole? Pedestrians should watch where they're going! I know I do!!


I dunno if y'all looked at where that rock is and what's next to it: a parking spot. So the rock is actually doing a fantastic job of making sure cars stop before they could potentially hit a parked car without causing significant injury or death.

The fact that you basically never see a parked car in the photos says less about the intrinsic qualities of that rock and the terrible urban planning decisions and priorities in American society that led to idiots running themselves aground on a rock in a mostly empty and flat parking lot.

I had some comments about "pedestrians should watch where they're going" as if municipalities don't take that as a default stance all the fucking time when drivers hit and kill pedestrians, but y'all don't have the time to read the 400-page string of expletives I would have to write as a precursor to getting my point across.
posted by chrominance at 2:13 PM on October 29 [8 favorites]


Visualize yourself sitting in a left hand driver's seat turning right.

A rock on your right, down low, is completely invisible behind your dashboard and door.

Sure, if you have top notch situational awareness, you know that rock is there because you saw it as you drove up but many people, especially as they get older, don't have that. It's bad design. It needs to be a tall pillar, painted bright yellow and black.
posted by Bee'sWing at 2:25 PM on October 29


A friend of mine got hit by a car this morning, and the driver said "I didn't see you!" to her as if that was a reasonable excuse, so, I say, more rocks everywhere.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:40 PM on October 29 [9 favorites]


Visualize yourself sitting in a left hand driver's seat turning right, checking the area you intend to turn into before the process of beginning your turn.

A rock on your right, down low, is completely visible, and you note that it is also behind a curb. You proceed accordingly, and come into contact with neither rock nor curb.
posted by Earthtopus at 2:50 PM on October 29 [6 favorites]


Google Maps StreetView of the rock, which I found via clues in this local news article ("the UPS store in the Hy-Vee shopping plaza").
Barnett said the rock causes trouble for vehicles when drivers who aren’t paying attention accidentally jump the curb. She said before the rock appeared, drivers who would jump the curb were making “a giant hole in the ground.”

It’s unclear if the rock was placed in that spot to prevent curb-jumping.
...
“I know it’s probably really embarrassing for the drivers, but you know at least it’s something else that people are talking about for Omaha,” Barnett said. “Like, we have the zoo, and now we have the rock.”
There. Are. Two. Rocks.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:53 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


And you may find yourself
Behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may ask yourself, well
How did I get here?
posted by kirkaracha at 2:54 PM on October 29 [25 favorites]


Our local car-eating rock has its own Facebook page. There haven't been many photos in the past year, thanks to a new sign & some eye-catching plants that were put by it. (I drive by it every week. It's very obviously a large rock that you should avoid driving on. I honestly can't figure out how people manage to do that.)
posted by belladonna at 3:57 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


I'm a pedestrian. I don't drive. There's an attitude that seems to pervade—not all, but clearly a significant portion of—drivers that anyone using the road that isn't in a car doesn't matter. The road belongs to them and their car.

Of course it is. How much damage will YOU do to their car, versus how much damage their car will do to you? Might makes right. I get made fun of for running when I cross the street, but I know better than to take a leisurely stroll in front of a car. I'm not totally dumb.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:38 PM on October 29 [2 favorites]


You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Gettin' your car stuck on a rock in place
posted by rather be jorting at 5:54 PM on October 29 [5 favorites]


(jenfullmoon, I am also a runner when crossing the street)
posted by rather be jorting at 5:56 PM on October 29


I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, there is the Nelson Muntz "HA-HA" at those who have high-centered on the rock. On the other hand, I despair that drivers in general seem to be getting worse and worse. I'm sure a not-insignificant percentage of these are from people just being lazy about their driving; not paying enough attention to the task at hand, not intentionally cutting the corner, but not for some reason not wanting to turn the steering wheel enough to make a sharp turn around it and so start their turn early, and don't realize that the rear tires do not follow in the tracks of the front tires when you are making a turn...
Don't get me started on SUVs. All of the things adamrice said upthread plus the fact that they are more deadly to other road users thanks to being higher up. (full disclosure: commuting-wise, I'm either in a small sedan or on a motorcycle).
And on the other-other-other hand, I think there are several poor design things going on with that parking lot, driveway and curb.
posted by coppertop at 5:59 PM on October 29 [1 favorite]


Marry: The Strength and Patience of the Hill
Boff: 1foot8.com
Kill: And a rock feels no pain, and an island never cries
posted by ActingTheGoat at 8:57 PM on October 29 [3 favorites]


Oh it's all the way past Westroads? Dang, now I have to see what else is over there so I can make a pilgrimage at Christmas.
posted by lesser weasel at 9:53 PM on October 29


Years ago an acquaintance remarked that the N on Nebraska football helmets stood for knowledge. :-)
posted by Cranberry at 12:24 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


I may be imagining things, but I feel like the number of people who drive as if all other cars on the road are perfect automatons that will never make mistakes or be impacted or affected by their driving decisions in any way has had a remarkable uptick in the past ten years. It's fucking insane that we don't make people take an actual driving test in a car with a driving tester every time they renew their license.
posted by Caduceus at 4:22 AM on October 30 [3 favorites]


It's fucking insane that we don't make people take an actual driving test in a car with a driving tester every time they renew their license.

I was thinking about that recently. It is crazy that a cursory 10-minute "test" when I was 16 (literally just driving around the block with the DMV person sitting in the passenger seat, ending with parallel parking between two cones) apparently gives lifetime permission to drive. I've had to take the knowledge tests a few times when moving to a new state, and to get a motorcycle endorsement I had to ride in a circle in a parking lot (well over 20 years ago, and equally not required to ever retest), but never any retesting or evaluation of my ability to drive.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:28 AM on October 30 [5 favorites]


Everybody wants a rock to grind an SUV around.

I failed to see the rock due to the prosthetic forehead on my real head
posted by flabdablet at 7:02 AM on October 30 [4 favorites]


Oh it's all the way past Westroads?

No, no, any city past 108th or so is definitely mythical or should be treated as such.

I mean, yes, okay, in reality, there is stuff further west than 108th, but at that point you're looking at such notable destinations as "the city's only Apple Store which is located in a particularly soulless shopping center". If your idea of Omaha is that it ends at Westroads... you know, you might be happier that way, is all I'm saying.
posted by Sequence at 9:48 AM on October 30 [1 favorite]


Westeromahos
posted by kirkaracha at 9:58 AM on October 30


It is crazy that a cursory 10-minute "test" when I was 16 ... apparently gives lifetime permission to drive.

Wait, isn't driving a car one of those unalienable rights they put in the Declaration of Independence? I swear I thought I saw that in there somewhere.
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:23 AM on October 30


Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of car around.

(flabdablet beat me to it!)
posted by beandip at 12:56 PM on November 1 [1 favorite]


New article posted in the last hour: Actually, The SUV-Defeating Rock Is Good

It has made it its purpose to demonstrate that a great deal of SUV drivers have no fucking clue what they’re doing and cannot be trusted to drive in public.
posted by AlSweigart at 12:25 PM on November 6


kentbrockman_hailrock.jpg
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 2:10 PM on November 6 [2 favorites]


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