Cheney Free Press -

By JOHN McCALLUM
Managing Editor 

Skilled, civilized drivers we are definitely not

 


I am constantly amazed at how much our nation can sometimes resemble a Third World country.

Having been to a couple, one of my observations is that normal day-to-day activities often function without any semblance of order or rules. Take driving, for instance.

At times in Guatemala, it seems the basic rule of the road is “every person for themselves.” Change lanes or turn without signaling, force your way into traffic, sometimes without looking, inventive use of shoulders — like for passing, and generally engaging in a free for all.

Driving around our part of the world, it doesn’t appear things are much different, even though technically, in order for us to get a license to drive, we have to learn and show proficiency in the rules of the road.

Take entering traffic from a side street or driveway. I was taught you approach the entrance, stop, signal your intentions, look both ways, make eye contact with any approaching traffic, yield to it and then when it’s safe to do so, enter and be on your merry way.

The woman driving a red, SUV-type vehicle who almost hit me Monday as she entered First Street from Pine Village did none of those things. I doubt she even knew I was there, that I had to brake hard, because she didn’t even look my way.

Heck, I’d bet that had she hit me, she still wouldn’t have noticed, nor been slowed up.

Or the motorcyclist that passed between me and a large, dual rear-tired pickup truck pulling a trailer last Thursday on the freeway between the Medical Lake and Cheney/Four Lakes interchanges. Yes, I said “between,” as in splitting the difference between our lanes and zooming through.

After exiting onto State Route 904, he proceeded to pass at least six vehicles in the no-passing zone en route to Cheney. I hope he didn’t miss his psychology test.

It’s amazing to me sometimes. It often seems turn signals are optional, or just too much of a bother to execute. After all, it requires possibly putting your phone down to use your hand to do another task related to driving, rather than yakking away on a device not associated with propelling a heavy vehicle down a road, safely.

Sometimes I think I should mount Go-Pro cameras on my front dash and my rear window ledge. Particularly the latter, so I can get the license plates of some of these self-important individuals who follow you 10 feet off your rear bumper while doing 55 miles per hour on SR 904.

Nothing is that important that you have to risk everyone’s safety — including your own.

We complain about roundabouts, but roundabouts I think actually make us safer. Many is the time I’ve pulled up to a four-way stop intersection, followed the right-of-way rules, only to have to brake hard to avoid getting hit by someone who didn’t bother to wait their turn and instead simply slowed down then charged into the intersection — clear or not.

Hey, they’re important. They’ve got places to be, people to see.

That’s Third World country stuff. We should be better than that, more disciplined, skilled and trained.

Or at the very least, polite.

Alas, not so. So be careful out there — especially around Pine View.

John McCallum can be reached at jmac@cheneyfreepress.com.

 

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