It as been many years since I learned the skills of driving a car and earned my drivers license. Nowadays, new drivers go though a lot more on road training before they can earn their drivers license.
More training, yet I see an increase of careless and negligent drivers on the road. When new drivers pass their drivers test and pull away from the DMV, it seems they just throw out the window all they have learned.
There are only two types of drivers — skilled conforming drivers and nonconforming hazardous drivers. There is no in between.
Poor driving techniques are rampant. Basic tasks like stopping at a stop sign, signaling a turn, turning a corner, following too close, cell phone use while driving, ignoring speed limits, are practices being scuttled by drivers.
I see more and more people rolling through stop signs. If it is three o’clock in the morning and it seems no one is around, when you approach a stop sign, come to a complete stop. Why? Because it is a requirement. Besides, you never know what’s lingering in the dark.
Some people stop at a sign and just take off, even though there is another car at the opposite sign. They don’t remember the rule that states the car that stops at an intersection first has the right to go first.
It appears there is a newer trend of people cutting corners while turning. When you are preparing to turn, you must be far enough into the intersection, so when you turn you don’t enter the opposing lane. Simple.
Tailgating is an extremely poor practice to do. The law states a safe distance results by following the three second rule. If you don’t know how to practice the three second rule, park your car and look it up.
People who tailgate are displaying an aggressive behavior. People who speed are also demonstrating aggressive driving behavior. Aggressive drivers pose an extreme danger on the road. The sad part is that people who speed don’t take any effort to understand what a given area’s speed limit is and don’t even care. Do you think these people realize they are functioning as an aggressive driver? Maybe they are proud of it.
Something has occurred over the last decade that has lead to the detriment of road safety. The use of cell phones while driving a vehicle is a big problem.
They say that distracted driving is as bad as drunk driving. I think it’s a more overwhelming hazard than drunk driving since there are more people on the road using hand held cell phones than there are drunk drivers on the road at any given time. Both are deadly habits.
I’ve seen drivers on the highway tooling around 60 miles an hour with their cell phone on the steering wheel texting. Yesterday, I saw a person looking at the cell phone in their hand, while backing up in a parking lot. Can you get more stupid than that?
People pull up to the stop light and think “Whoopee, text time.” No, it’s not legal. You are on a public road, with your ignition on, and your hands on the phone. Even though you are stopped, you are supposed to be engaged in the act of operating an automobile.
The amount of time it takes a person to commute to a store is roughly fifteen minutes on average. If you can’t drive for fifteen minutes without putting your hands on your phone, you need to get your head examined.
The State of Illinois is negligent in one manner by not properly communicating to the public when there is a change to the rules of the road. Two examples: A lot of people don’t know that when the weather requires the use of windshield wipers, car lights must be turned on.
Another law that few know of is the fact you can not have any device in your trailer hitch receiver, when not in use. So if you are in a parking lot, and a big truck is backing up to park in front of you, make sure there is no hitch in the receiver that can take out your grill.
There is a sad element to the decline in driving skills and safety. That is the lack of police cars monitoring traffic and rules of the road on our streets. Consider a basic principle to the rule of law. Unless a law is enforced, it is nothing but ink on paper.
You used to see a lot of cops on the road. One would be seen nearly every time you made a trip in town. Unfortunately, in Rockford the cops are not available to cruise around since they are too busy working on the murder cases we now experience.
You do see more Loves Park cops around; but, their favorite pastime is hiding in places, waiting for their prey to come to them. Reminds me of an angler fish, who dangles a worm like aperture and sits waiting for its prey.
You can’t just stop speeders to get control of aggressive and noncompliant drivers. Cops need to get out and about in traffic.
Some of these negligent drivers remind me of kids playing with their Hot Wheels. They just zoom around, going left and right, up and down with no cares or rules.
Cars are machines that need to be operated in a skilled, safe manner. Any operation other than that is hazardous and can be deadly.
Engage your mind and use your education to become a skilled conforming driver. You will be less apt to kill someone.
Steve Fink lives in Loves Park.