OK, Mitch. This one is for you.
Avid TC.com reader and commenter Mitch posed a question through my e-mail:
I’m from Santa Cruz – You know, Highway 1, Big Sur, 1,000 foot cliffs straight down to the waters edge.
My question is: How come we never have any “rollovers” in our news?
Yet, I’ve been (in Tucson) five years and every day there is a rollover.
He also noted many of the rollovers happen on Interstate 10:
There’s one road, its wide, paved AND a straight shot from here to Phoenix, How do Tucsonans do it?
The thing was constructed so a 747 could land on it for Pete’s sake. (Who IS Pete by the way)?
To answer Mitch’s inquiries:
1. Why aren’t there rollovers in Big Sur?
There are few, if any, rollovers in places that have highways abutting sheer cliffs that drop to the sea, such as your former Highway 1 in Big Sur and my former Highway 101 in southern Oregon, for a simple reason.
The vehicles don’t have time to roll over when they lose control. They simply smash, crash and then dash through the guardrail right down with a splash into the water.
2. Who is Pete?
The “Pete” from the term “for Pete’s sake” goes back to the Bible, according to Phrases.org.uk, which offers this explanation:
“For Pete’s Sake” – The phrase is simply a polite version of a common and profane expression involving the name of Christ. We’d surmise that the original ‘Pete’ was St. Peter.” From “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris.
The explanation is kind of boring, as I was hoping Pete was a tad more mysterious. But it also falls into line with a phrase I used to think I heard as a kid in church. When congregation members said en masse, “Thanks Be To God,” I actually thought they were saying “Thanks Peter God.” I thought it cute God had such an earthy name like Peter.
Any other rollover theories out there?