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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


At least I’m not alone

As suggested here two weeks ago, drivers can be “schooled” by the errors of others around them.  Observing those driver errors provides an effective reminder of “what not to do.”  And sadly, such errors abound.

At least I’m not the only one spotting those errors, and certainly not the only one irritated by them.  Reader reaction by email supports this premise.

Before relaying some of that reaction, I’ll remind everyone that singling out these driving mistakes should be a productive exercise.  So, please use the examples noted to improve your own driving, and not let the accompanying irritation lead to anger, rage or retribution.  Eventually, habitual error-ridden drivers will be sighted and cited by law enforcement.

For reader J.B., the shortcomings of other drivers provoke thought, as he wrote, “Philosophical question for you and before I start, understand that people following too closely irritate me too - the question is WHY?  It is the person following that is in the greatest peril, not the person in the lead.  The ‘behinder’ person should be the one concerned, but the driver in front is usually the one doing the cussing.  I know when I am following too closely - as in having just made a perfectly good merge onto the freeway and have fitted my car between two cars and finding myself too close to the lead car - my thoughts run to ‘I hope he doesn't slow down until I can slow myself, thus widening the gap,’ or words to that effect.”

It’s nice to know there are other thinking drivers out there.   I guess the sight of a grill filling your rear-view-mirror simply seems overly-intrusive; it’s difficult to keep your attention focused ahead in such instances.  J.B. is right that the trailing vehicle is the party-at-fault when a “rear-ender” occurs, and therefore at greater peril.  Still, as the leading vehicle, I don’t want to be in an accident even without fault!  J.B. is doing the right thing by making proper following distance a priority.

J.B. has also evidently experienced the rare satisfaction of scofflaw justice that I’ve enjoyed a few times.  He questioned and expressed, “When the car blows by you or in some other way acts like an ass, then you come upon him down the road stopped by a trooper, can you resist giving him a toot and a wave?  I can’t.  There are some small pleasures in life - that's one of them.”  Well, I don’t remember if I’ve honked, but I have waved.

And J.B. relayed one other mistake he hates to see:  “Left turn people who don’t enter the intersection to wait for an opening - so when the light changes, they have to wait out another light - provide another of life’s little annoyances - particularly when I’m behind them.”  Just guessing, but I’ll bet J.B doesn’t do that.

Speaking of turns, reader J.M. believes, “The ‘free’ right or left turn it is really bad when the cars in front of the one who doesn’t turn saw all the cars in front of them perform the turn. One turn I believe is correct that most people don’t do or believe is illegal is when there is a designated turn lane onto a multiple lane road, either one way or two way with multiple lane in the same direction, then the lane next to the designated turn lane can also turn in the same direction as the designated lane. The designated lane car must turn into the closest lane with the adjacent lane turning into the next lane.”

Many driving aggravations involve time issues, and failure to take “free” or legal turns upon red-light indications regularly impedes traffic flow.  Like J.M., I’m disappointed with drivers who hold me up.  J.M.’s dual-lane scenario is indeed legal (unless posted otherwise), and unfortunately, as he points out, most drivers don’t take advantage of that law. 

Additionally, the left-on-red from a one-way to a one-way is regularly neglected, and the legal left-on-red from a two-way to a one-way is virtually unknown to most drivers!

May your own errors be minimal, and others’ be instructive.


Readers may contact Bill Love via e-mail at