"A Very Long, Scary Drive"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, December 6, 2013

The past few weeks I traveled more than 2,000 miles and noted many common activities on the road. Passing through Canada, New York, Conneticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina and Georgia brought me to my Florida destination.

The prominent action I observed was many drivers have no respect for others on the highway. They routinely pass on either side, ignoring the law which directs pass on the left only. They display no regard for yellow lines, if they see no approaching traffic, they cross the center yellow line and pass. Although the yellow indicates it is unsafe to pass, they expect oncoming traffic to yield.

Another common problem I noted was some drivers, after observing a turn signal on the vehicle ahead would speed up to prevent them from passing or moving into a merge lane.

Traffic speed control signs are ignored by disrespectful drivers, they do not believe they are intended for them. Everywhere I drove, I observed cars speeding 25 miles an hour or more over the posted limits. They would weave in and out of lanes, passing on the left, then the right. They would cross three lanes to exit even though the exit number was posted miles before they reached it.

Among the most arrogant drivers are those who see a sign warning a lane is closed ahead so traffic must merge. They speed up and cut drivers off by changing lanes at the last minute.

Drivers with sports cars, priced twice as much as the average car, think they own the road. They race along and take curves recklessly endangering others. If they find a similar vehicle, they will race them down the highway at speeds most cars cannot even reach. These dangerous drivers fail to use turn signals. They simply cut other drivers off.

Perhaps the most hazardous action on roads today is the use of electronics while driving. While in Florida, I was in heavy, holiday traffic on a turnpike when I observed a young girl driving a little Smart car very close to the centerline. She was holding her cell phone up, in front of her face, texting. Because she was so busy with her phone, she must have missed the overhead sign which read: “No texting — put it down — it’s the law.”

What was frightening to observe about the young driver was she was behind an 18-wheeler and there was a car pulling an RV behind her. Not only was she breaking the law, she seemed to have a death wish and had no concern for those around her.

While driving at night, an irritating problem is drivers with bright, blue headlights. They are supposed to help you see further down the road. But if they are not properly adjusted, they create a blinding problem for approaching traffic.

Many cycle drivers in heavy traffic squeeze between vehicles to pass, startling drivers, and carelessly race down the roads. I often wonder if they are rushing to a funeral, perhaps their own.

As I see it, roads today are too congested to allow drivers who have no concern for others to continue their reckless actions. Although I did observe some law enforcement in action, there are not enough of them. If someone does get pulled over, fines are not stiff enough. The penalty should be severe, costing hundreds of dollars for reckless driving and repeat offenders should lose their privilege to drive.

It is hard to comprehend how drivers, with multiple traffic violations, are still on the road. In many reported fatalities, a repeat offender is the cause. Those drivers operating a vehicle while their license is suspended should lose not only their license but their vehicle and go to jail. The statistics are staggering regarding how many accidents are caused by them. Long term confinement of repeat offenders would save lives.

Anyone who drives long distances clearly observes all the actions I have mentioned. Driving in today’s heavy traffic is hazardous. We all need to do our best to observe the law and be courteous to others traveling the roads alongside us.

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