Get it in gear

You didn't have to be among those fleeing town in advance of Hurricane Floyd to note that I-4 westbound looked less like an evacuation route than a shopping-mall parking lot at Christmastime. Eastbound, of course, the road was free and clear.

Faced with a similar crush, South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges ordered state police to convert all lanes of I-26 to one-way traffic. He later apologized to those who were inconvenienced, but U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater still cheered the success of what he called "the largest peacetime evacuation in our nation's history." Drivers who took three and four times as long to travel familiar routes might disagree. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has since called for a statewide study of evacuation plans, to be completed before the next hurricane season.