The Roanoke region is well-known for having some of the most sensitive men in America, as well as for scarfing up more frozen pies per capita than just about anywhere else.
But there’s another distinction that has gone largely unrecognized, another reason for Roanokers’ hearts to swell with pride. The outside world hasn’t hit on it yet, but they will one day soon.
We have some of the slowest drivers in the United States.
I don’t mean highway driving, such as on Interstates 581 (why do they call that an interstate, anyway?) or 81. Rather, it happens on city surface streets, the ones for which the speed limit ranges from 25 to 40 mph.
If you’ve been around this town for any length of time, you know exactly what I mean. It’s difficult to drive on a surface street without encountering other drivers piddling along at a nice-and-safe 5 to 10 mph under the limit.
I call them the Slow Brigade. That’s to differentiate them from the “Count To 10 After The Traffic Light Turns Green” Brigade, and the “Slam On The Brakes In The Merge Lane” Brigade.
One day soon the Slow Brigade will be discovered by out-of-town journalists, who in the past have parachuted in and gleefully jabbed us with descriptors like “gritty former railroad town” or described our restaurants with phrases like “a breakfast that could stun a farmhand.”
They’ll write stories that ask: Why do cars move around Roanoke as slowly as a herd of turtles crawling through molasses? There are a number of possible explanations and we’ll cover a few of them here.
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