Over the course of the past thirty years, I have driven close to two-million miles. Over those miles, there have certainly been a great deal of them filled with snow storms, rain & fog as well as the thick smoke caused by the immense forest fires of Idaho and Montana. So many times the little white lines along the right shoulder of the road offered me assurance of where the road was. Those lines, often overlooked for their significance have afforded me piece of mind in tough times.
From 1915 to 1921, the rapid growth of the automobile created quite a list of changes that would revolutionize the world forever. One of those big changes came as the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1925. This new legislation was due recent confusion created by the two hundred-plus highways all named the Lincoln Highway or the National Old Trails Highway. The 'Road Naming Bonanza' was ideal at first, and everyone had good intentions, but alas, those intentions wrought a serious problem for travelers. Signs, Colored bands with numbers were nailed to telephone poles, trees and makeshift poles. Something had to be done. The new system came along promptly, and it began to use uniform numbers for inter-state highways and a standardized shield that would be universally recognizable by all. The most important change was that this new system would be administered by each of the states, and not by for-profit entities. In spite the new laws, many decried the idea of giving roads 'numbers' would make highways cold, impersonal and deter motorist from travelling. Well, it didn't, and in spite of the continued rapid growth, there were plenty of issues still wreaking havoc.
The states were rapidly putting their own highway departments together and implementing standards that governed the signs, signals and traffic related infrastructure which governed traffic across the states. By 1948, the system was improving the highway markings so as to reduce the rising number of traffic related deaths associated with weather, smoke or congestion.
But the highways themselves were still not what they should be. Center lines were still not placed at locations where the accident record indicated a need for them, and on hard-surfaced roads, in areas where driver visibility was reduced by fog, accident and death tolls continued to climb. It was here that Dr. John Dorr entered the picture. Dr. Dorr studied the issues and proposed painting a white line along roadway edges. He said this would act as a guide for nighttime driving, or when rain, snow & fog impaired a driver's vision. Too often drivers 'hugged' the white lines painted in the middle of highways. Dr. Dorr believed this is what led to numerous accidents. He then proposed the painting of a white line along the outside shoulders, and a yellow line in the center, along all of the highways. This man's crusade, and introduction to an idea that would save lives - is now a part of our everyday driving experience all across North America and beyond.
Dr. Dorr's idea was not immediately popular by the way. It took time, resources and a steady focus on marketing this new idea. He was criticized and ignored - for a time. It was his passion, diligence and record keeping statistics that fueled the successes that in time would lead to a national standard. Just like Dr. Dorr, we are all aware of the many people around us whose lives are at risk. Maybe not on the highways of our nation, but instead the byways of our spiritual journey home one day when the Lord returns.
While there is no guarantee the fog line will always save your life, its presence insures the driver added protection in times of adverse weather. Just like the lines on the road, the Gospel shared with a fellow traveler can be that fog line too. Hebrews 3:12 says for us to take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. When we turn away from the guiding lines of the Bible, we risk suffering the consequences. When our lives get caught up in the storms of life, we'll want that fog line to follow - without those precious lines, there is no telling what lays ahead in the darkness.