You know that dirty u-turn you wish you could make over the median on a long stretch of highway when you miss your crossroads? Don’t do it. In South Florida, you could be driving into disaster.
U.S. Hwy 27 runs all the way from Fort Wayne, Indiana to Miami, FL. That’s about 1,300 miles of concrete between the heartland of America and the heart of Babylon.
Somewhere between Krome Ave and the Broward County line is where I took the main photo for this article, but rest assured there’s more than enough inter-highway wetlands to fill a stadium terrarium.
And now for a hypothetical scenario:
Picture for a moment if you will the experience of driving HWY-27 late one moonless night. At the speed limit of fifty five miles an hour, an alligator makes one hell of a speed bump. At the seventy five mile an hour average that you’re more likely traveling, it can send your car flipping and flying like a rally racer in a scene out of Die Hard.
So there you are zooming down the roadway, bleary eyed in the vast expanse of flatlands that define South Florida when you see a reptilian monster taking up both lanes of roadway. If you hit it, you may be doomed. At the very least it’s gonna crack your axle.
You cut the wheel so hard you swerve and fish out, hydroplaning over dew-slick grass into the median. Next thing you know, your open window is filling with water, muck, something green, and its effluvium. Your collarbone is cracked, your seatbelt has you trapped, you smashed your head against the voracious pressure of an airbag and got knocked out cold. You can’t swim, you can’t breathe, and your car is filling up with water.
What do you do?
The middle of the highway is a wetland marsh. This is a recurring feature of good old U.S. HWY 27, where gators roam, construction debris and the remnants of old car crashes form obstacles that cause new problems, and the dark of night blankets the earth like blackout tints on a limousine.
From Miami, it’s a straight shot up to Lake Okeechobee, where water traditionally floods south on a 2 degree angle all the way through the Everglades into Florida Bay.
This is real, wild, Florida. Be careful out there. And never drive over the median unless you want to take the chance of flooding the engine. It may be full of water, and you might wake up in Underwaterville.