We can put up flashing lights at every intersection in the county, but it won’t alter a person’s bad driving habits.
Tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, speeding, not using headlights, not wearing a seatbelt, not having children properly restrained, using a cellphone while driving, putting on makeup, eating takeout, drinking (whatever beverage), driving while sleepy, rolling stops, road rage, driving fast in poor weather conditions, etc. A list of bad, and mostly illegal, driving habits could go on and on.
I’ve lived on Sparta Highway for about 18 years. In that timeframe, I’ve seen most of those horrible habits.
Shortly after the flashing lights were placed at Rock Island Road, a woman pulled into my path. She slowed as she pulled onto the highway, but she did not stop and look. She had one hand on the steering wheel and food in the other that she was shoving into her mouth.
Ms. White County Tags was saved from serious injury or death because of my better driving habits. I drive 55 mph on Sparta Highway. That decision was made due to numerous motorists pulling from side roads into my path. They slow, but they do not stop. Those people are accidents just waiting to happen.
I’ve covered many motor vehicle wrecks. What I’ve learned is I do not want to be involved in one. Because speed increases the chances of serious injury or death, I set the control at 55, stay in the slow lane and cruise to and from the house.
I was behind a person who was carelessly switching lanes with each curve in the road. If the curve was to the right, they swerved into the left lane. If the curve was to the left, they swerved into the right lane. I was following some distance behind. No blinker was given. The stupidity of it astonished me.
Traveling a safer 55 mph isn’t cheered by some motorists. On my way home one evening, I was tailgated by a guy with road rage. Rather than going around me and utilizing the inside lane, he tailgated. He barely left any room between his vehicle and mine. He’d use intimidation tactics - slow down and speed up. I don’t intimidate easily. I just ignored him. That went on for several miles. He finally admitted defeat and went around.
This reaction – putting up flashing lights at “dangerous” intersections – is similar to the concept of laws. Laws only restrict law-abiding citizens. They do very little to deter crime. Someone with a desire to break into your home, your business or your vehicle will do it. Laws punish criminals who get caught.
Flashing lights only stand as a warning to cautious drivers that they need to be extra careful. So, put them up at every intersection where frequent wrecks occur. I appreciate the heads up that this intersection attracts bad drivers who might be dangerous to my safety.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.