I haven't lived in Durango long and wonder if you could help me in finding an automotive repair shop capable of calibrating the speedometer on my late-model Toyota. My speedometer is obviously 10 to 15 mph off. This is especially evident when traveling to Wal-Mart, on north Main Avenue and on U.S. Highway 160 west. When cruising at what I think is the speed limit, most vehicles zoom past at a good 10 to 15 mph faster than I am traveling. I assume my speedometer is in error because I rarely see state or local law enforcement pull anyone over. - Cori Welsh
A belated welcome to Durango. By now, you have noticed that there are two different kinds of drivers here.
The first group is longtime residents. These folks - "locals" as they want to be called - view traffic ordinances as quaint suggestions and therefore subject to wide interpretation and/or complete disregard.
Locals also have this bizarre notion that the longer they live here, the fewer traffic laws apply to them.
In addition to ignoring the speed limit, locals believe they can flout red lights and yield signs, and something in Durango's water has erased all memory of how to use a turn signal.
The second group constitutes people who recently moved here. These folks are called "newcomers" by the "locals."
Newcomers don't think they are exempt from traffic laws, but they are just as big of a menace.
Many newcomers relocated to Durango to experience the low-key, small-town lifestyle - so it's absolutely imperative for them to pursue a leisurely pace as fast as they can.
They speed to yoga lessons that are designed to slow the body down, and they drive aggressively to peace rallies.
Newcomers haven't figured out that the Colorado Department of Transportation installed special sensors that detect how much of a rush drivers are in. The greater the rush, the more the lights change to red.
In any case, we can say, based on years of observation with a few exceptions, that when it comes to driving, longtime residents are misguided twits and newcomers are clueless idiots.
You, of course, are an exception - and there probably is nothing wrong with your speedometer.
Not that you could do anything about it.
According to the law-enforcement officers and local mechanics, the nearest certified speedometer shop is in Albuquerque.
However, there's a cheap and easy way to see if your speedometer is out of whack, courtesy of Sgt. Geary Parsons of the Durango Police Department.
He suggests using the police department's speed-monitoring trailers, those white things that look like a mini U-Haul with an electronic scoreboard.
The radar-equipped trailer shows what the speed limit is supposed to be and flashes your traveling speed on an embarrassingly large display screen.
Parsons said the department has three trailers and deploys them along roadsides throughout the community. Locations change frequently, so chances are you'll encounter one very soon.
Simply drive into the sensor range, glance down quickly at your speedometer and then at the trailer display.
"The speed trailers are very accurate," Parsons said, "because I'm the radar guy, and I make sure they are calibrated."
A caveat: The drive-by speed check isn't scientific, but at least it can help you determine if your speedometer is in the ballpark.
Police Capt. Micki Browning also urged local drivers not to use the devices to see how fast they can go.
"When we have a speed trailer set up, we generally have an officer nearby," she cautioned.
Seriously, she said a handful of drivers see the speed trailer and accelerate.
Which is an interesting notion - the speed trailer not only gauges miles per hour, but it also can measure a motorist's IQ.
E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.
You can request anonymity if you please stop cruising in Mrs. Action Line's blind spot.