Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Driver's Uneducation

Though my drive to work is only a little more than five miles, I've seen some awfully strange (and scary) things during my commute.
Case in point, I was sitting at a traffic light the other day and noticed the SUV coming up behind me. The woman driving was holding her cell phone to her ear with one hand and holding a cup of coffee in the other. How was she steering? I did not wait around to see; as soon as the light turned green, I zoomed away.
Sitting at another light coming home today, a car making a right turn nearly hit mine. The driver was using only one hand to turn the wheel because he was using his other hand to talk on his cell phone. The result was a herky-jerky turn that was much too wide. He stopped just short of bumping my car and stared at me like it was my fault I was there. He then waited where he was until the light changed and I could drive away so he could finish turning. At no time did he stop talking on the phone.
New York, by the way, is one of the states in which it is illegal to talk on your cell while driving.

Speaking of using a cell phone while driving, why do states have to pass a law making text messaging while driving illegal? Are people so stupid that they don't recognize the danger? (Answer: yes.) I guess the next step will be people driving with their mini-laptops perched on the steering wheel so they can surf the web while cruising the roads. After all, that's not illegal. And why don't they install those in-car TVs far enough forward so the driver can enjoy the videos too? It's not illegal either? While we're at it, maybe they could replace the glove compartment with an easy-bake oven and we can make cookies.

Anyway... another thing I've noticed is that they are apparently no longer putting turn signals in many cars. That, or the drivers of those vehicles are sending out telepathic messages about changing lanes that I'm somehow missing. The driver in the lane next to me suddenly decides he needs to be in front of me. No signal -- he just goes. (Hmm, maybe he is sending telepathic messages; otherwise, I would have crashed into him!)

The meaning of traffic lights seems to have changed as well. Green: Go. Yellow: Go fast. Red: Go, but blow your horn. We have a "right turn on red" rule here. At least, it has been shortened to that from "right turn on red after a full stop if the road is clear." I've had people make turns on red right in front of me when I have the green light. Without stopping...without even looking.
But it gets worse: While on a bike ride over the weekend, I saw someone make a left turn on a red light. Perhaps he needs to have "L" and "R" tattooed on his hands.

I'm not sure what is being taught in Driver's Ed classes now. One thing I remember from way back when I took it was the admonition, "Watch out for the other guy." I sure hope they are still telling that to new drivers because they need to do that.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure there's probably some more general law about reckless or distracted driving that would apply to talking on the phone, eating, putting on makeup, etc. while driving. I can't see why a specific law about talking on the phone while driving needs to be created.