Posted by: winteridge | January 13, 2008

Get yer @$# off the road!


I guess I just have to stop reading the paper. Doc says my blood pressure is soaring.

I just read a letter in the Syracuse paper from a (obviously) young man who advocates that all older drivers are slow and dangerous and should be given driver tests every 2-3 years. Well, he may have a point, but why point fingers, especially that finger? Why not retest everyone? There are a lot of very incompetent drivers on the roads.

No doubt this young man is one of those gifted with the excellent reactions, super coordination, and perfect eyesight of the young, (like Lebron) which allows them to ignore the speed limits and traffic laws the rest of us must obey. Unfortunately, they often find, too late, that they are not actually invincible, and they usually take some of us with them when they die.

I will probably send this to that same newspaper, they sometimes publish my ramblings, so I would like to pose this short quiz to that young man, and others who may agree with him. For each example, just answer (a) for under 25, (b) for over 65. These incidents, by the way, come from my own recent experiences.

(1) I am stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of a busy highway. The light on my side turns green, so the law says I can proceed thru the intersection, though with my aged reaction time, luckily it takes me a few seconds. As I start, a vehicle hurtles thru the red light from my right without slowing, narrowly missing the front of my car. That driver is also conversing on a cell phone. a or b?

(2) I am traveling on a local 4-lane expressway, just above the legal speed limit, when I come upon a slower moving vehicle in my lane. I signal and move into the passing lane at a slightly higher speed. Suddenly, I see a very fast moving vehicle coming up behind me in the passing lane, and it approaches to within 3 or 4 feet of my rear bumper. The driver then flashes his lights and honks his horn, obviously wanting me to pull off the road. With nowhere to go, safely, I continue to pass the car on my right, then signal and return to the right lane. Too slow. I am rewarded with the single upright digit as the speeder passes me. a or b?

(3) Also on a busy local expressway, I approach the exit ramp near my home. I signal and proceed to enter the ramp, slowing for the curve. On my left, a large SUV comes up at a high rate of speed, passing a number of car, crosses both lanes and the diagonal stripes, and attempts to enter the exit ramp in the space my car occupies. With nowhere to go but the ditch, I continue to exit, forcing that driver to slow and enter behind me. Again, I am punished with the blowing horn and the dirty digit. a or b?

The answer, in all 3 instances, if you haven’t guessed, is (a). Am I the bad driver here? My conclusion is there are a lot of folks on the roadways, more every day, who could use some driver training, courtesy training, and yes,  periodic testing, regardless of their age.  There is only ONE place you really have to go, folks, do you really need to get there ahead of the rest?

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Responses

  1. My old driving instructor used to say that driving is a social action. When beneficial social actions (aka, manners) die, so do motorists.

    More than age or youth, this problem of reckless driving has much more to do with selfishness and disregard for others. That’s a social problem all right!

  2. Two more young local men died on the roads in central NY this weekend. 20 years old. Maybe a driver re-test would have helped them.

  3. I love this post. It brings to light the truths in ALL drivers… young or old. (Mostly the younger…) Too many times in the past year the North Country (north-east upstate NY) has seen its share of fatal accidents involving teen and young adult drivers. Matter of fact, there was a conviction last week of a local (Ft Edward) young driver who injured one passenger and killed his other three passengers because he probably felt invincible due to his alcohol and marijuana consumption. During his entire trial, he never showed remorse, nor gave an apology, and even tried to initially pass blame off his injured passenger. (Can be found at the local paper’s web address: poststar.com under local articles, date 12 Jan 2008, keyword- Woodard)

    Speaking of alcohol and drivers, have you noticed that the majority of those who are arrested for DWI or DUI are under 50 years old? At least it seems that way to me, going by newspaper articles…

    Anyway, thanks for the food for thought in your post!

  4. I just completed my tri-annual(?)
    AARP over-50 driving refresher course-surely it does some good. But this poses the question: why not refresh everyone every few years, say before they can renew their driver license? It seems there are many who have forgotten the basic rules of the road, or never did learn them. Such a course might save a few lives, and certainly will make driving a little less stressful for the rest of us.


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