By Mary Nicotera
A few weeks ago, and as the traffic light was turning red, I pulled into a left-hand turn lane behind another vehicle. The car in front of me wisely elected not to jump the signal. Through my rearview mirror I saw a third car approach, with a young woman behind the wheel cursing and flailing her arms, not happy that we were staying put.
To my shock and dismay, that woman dangerously darted out to the right from behind our two cars and perilously turned left on the red light. This was in front of our two stationary vehicles.
I prayed that a police officer witnessed this, but alas, she sped off into oblivion and I was left shaken by the experience. When I see that a reckless driver has been pulled over by an officer, am I an ogre if I’m gleefully satisfied that they were caught being incredibly thoughtless and stupid? My guess is there are many drivers out there just like me, smiling like the Cheshire cat as the officer writes the ticket. Serves them right.
I’ve been driving for 48 years. I’m a defensive-type driver, but no one would say that I’m a fuddy-duddy, ridiculously cautious driver. In all these years, I’ve never been cited for a moving violation. I can only remember one minor accident being my fault, but even then, the fault was partly shared by the other driver.
Cross my fingers that writing this doesn’t jinx me, but a big reason for my not getting a speeding ticket is that I engage my cruise control whenever practicable. I often use cruise even in city driving, but always set it when I’m on the highway.
Speaking of the highway, I do love to drive, and recently traveled about 3 1/2 hours to West Virginia to attend a concert. Posted speeds on this route ranged from 45 mph in construction zones to 70 mph. I generally set cruise control about 5 mph over the speed limit when on the highway, and stay in the right lane except while passing.
Many road warriors seem have their own special speed limit. And apparently construction zones don’t apply to them. I can’t tell you how many cars whizzed by me at breakneck speed, dangerously weaving their way back and forth through traffic.
And, can we please talk about the dangers of maneuvering in parking lots? Everyone is jockeying for position and many could care less who they’re leaving in the dust as long as they get their prized spot. It’s not worth it, people!
I have empathy for new, young drivers. Little do they know the danger that awaits them. When my daughter started driving, I warned her to be extremely cautious when driving near any Tim Hortons, Delta Sonic or Wegmans. People are fanatic, passionate about these businesses and swarm their vehicles around them like buzzing bees. And, drivers beware of the route that I sarcastically refer to as “The Kensington Speedway.”
I recently witnessed a woman applying her mascara using her rearview mirror as she turned left through a big, busy intersection. Despite this inane peril, no doubt her lashes turned out lush and lovely.
During the upcoming holidays, when people are pumped up with Yuletide cheer, my wish is for all motorists to be smart, patient and kind and thus safely survive the mayhem. Peace.
Mary Nicotera lives in Williamsville. She wishes all new cars came with an option for bubble wrap.