Driving in a storm of thoughtlessness

They’re working hard on area roads.

 

Is it time to work on our driving too?

People aren’t signalling. They’re not yielding. They’re not stopping for yellow lights, or often, even red. They’re halting traffic behind them in order to turn around because they missed a turn. They’re stopping for no reasons. They seem to have no consideration at all sometimes. And have you noticed how many motorists of all ages are looking down and surfing on their smart phones – which, by the way, is quite illegal?

Of a recent evening, we saw a driver in the far left lane of Riverwatch Parkway suddenly stop and decide she needed the I-20 entrance ramp on the right side of the road. So instead of turning left and turning around, she stopped traffic in three lanes to get where she wanted to be – and nearly caused several accidents.

It’s the perfect storm of shortsightedness, selfishness and ignorance.

It’s likely happening all over the nation, but a recent survey is particularly harsh on Georgia and South Carolina drivers. A national survey by the nonprofit Kars4Kids concludes that Georgia is 44th in the nation in courteous driving – and South Carolina is 49th – beaten for rudeness by only New York.

Wow. But can you say you’re surprised?

What’s going on?

Well, likely, a lot of things.

First off, driver’s education is less pervasive than it used to be. Many of us remember when it was a part of high school education. No more.

So, aside from private driver’s ed schools, society has left the teaching of driver skills and etiquette to parents – who are increasingly absent and boorish.

You have to wonder: Where are people learning to drive?

Rudeness on the roadways also likely is paralleling the increased coarseness in society in general. Except that the clods in cars are armed with tons of speeding metal.

As a society, there can be little doubt we’ve become more impatient over the years. It’s showing up on our roadways.

But what’s up with just stopping other traffic because you’ve missed your turn? We were taught to continue on to a turnout or street where you can turn around. And that car you’re about to pass on the left? Watch out: Rather than wait for you to go by, he’s just as likely to jump out in front of you to get around the truck ahead of him.

The No. 1 rule of the road today seems to be: Don’t inconvenience yourself; inconvenience the other guy.

Besides all the human factors that cause bad driving, there are all the doodads and distractions, from eating on the run to smoking to putting on makeup to, of course, phones and other electronic devices.

According to DefensiveDriving.com:

Forty-nine percent of adults admit to texting and driving

Cellphones are a factor in 1.6 million auto crashes each year

More than 78 percent of all distracted drivers are distracted because they have been texting while driving.

As much as 25 percent of all accidents may be the result of texting and driving

So, it’s not just manners that are going out the car window. It’s a lot of basic sense, too.

We may be beyond hoping to see decent manners exhibited on the roads. At this point, we may have to settle for mere competence.

But we’ll be happy with that!

 

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