Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Kathy Maiewski: What’s the matter with so many drivers today?

To the editor:

This is addressed to the nicely dressed mature couple who darted out in front of my car on State Street in Northampton recently. Nice job, good thing we were able to stop the car! I was not driving at the time, my 16-year-old daughter was behind the wheel.

She has had her learner’s permit for almost a month now.

Were you really in that much of a rush that you could not go to the crosswalk on the corner and safely cross the street?

And the nice lady who stuck her hand and one finger out the window at us when we beeped at her because she slammed on her brakes and stopped in the middle of South Main Street in Florence, again with no turn signal. We didn’t know what your plans were.

Yes, we beeped at her, but did so to make her aware we were approaching her car, so she did not pull out in front of us.

And finally, the guy in the black VW who passed her on the left lane at the stop sign in Leeds because she did not pull out into Route 9 traffic fast enough for you, then speeded up and blew through the stop light in the center of Florence: Good thing you did that, because I was trying to get your license plate number.

Please, people, next time you are rude to another driver, try to remember there are many new drivers out there.

They are just learning the rules of the road and they will learn by your example, so be polite and give the other driver a little courtesy. Turn signals are not optional.

It’s not that difficult and I appreciate it and so does my new driver ... and the other hundreds of 16-year-olds out on the road.

Kathy Maiewski

Northampton

Legacy Comments2

"Were you really in that much of a rush that you could not go to the crosswalk on the corner and safely cross the street?" Unless both ends of the block have traffic signals, it's not jaywalking and is perfectly legal for pedestrians to cross mid-block. Motorists have to yield, by stopping. It's not that hard. Are you really in that much of a rush that you can't yield to pedestrians? "And the nice lady who stuck her hand and one finger out the window at us when we beeped at her because she slammed on her brakes and stopped in the middle of South Main Street in Florence, again with no turn signal. We didn’t know what your plans were." So the nice lady stopped (or probably just slowed) to turn, or maybe to yield to pedestrians (just because you don't doesn't mean others don't), and so you "beeped" at her? Were you tailgating? What's the problem? "Yes, we beeped at her, but did so to make her aware we were approaching her car, so she did not pull out in front of us." You are behind her. You have to yield to her. She doesn't need to made aware you're there - it's YOUR responsibility to not hit her, not honk at her. "Turn signals are not optional." True, but relying on humans to correctly use turn signals reliably is optional too. Good drivers know not to rely on others to correctly use turn signals reliably, and teach beginners accordingly.

Northampton and Florence are rotten with incompetent, aggressive and just plain stupid drivers. Getting around town on a Friday afternoon means encountering chaos. The cellphone use by operators has made everything worse than ever - and yes, turn signals are optional because phone users have not yet evolved to have that third hand. I am so glad that I do not have a teenager learning to drive at this place and point in time. Good luck to you both.

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