HAPPENINGS: Peoples' driving is becoming alarming

Janice Lynn Crose | Special to the News Bulletin/USA TODAY NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — School has only been back in session for a few weeks, but I am seeing driving patterns that are quite alarming.

I was driving south on Ferdon Boulevard last week and saw several scary driving behaviors. One pickup just ran right out of a parking lot across three lanes so he could make a left turn. He almost hit two vehicles, sped up and never made eye contact with anyone. I watched his aggressive driving in absolute amazement.

On this same trip, I saw four different drivers run red lights. Most of them were right turns on the red, but they didn't even slow down, much less stop before turning right as required by law. In one instance the vehicle driving straight through the intersection with the green light had to slam on their brakes to avoid the person who ran the red light.

There are several reasons for poor driving. From what I have observed, the first one is distracted and unfocused driving. The driver is either talking on their cell phone, texting, turning around to calm down their children, eating, or my favorite, putting on their makeup. Any of these behaviors can cause an accident.

The second driving mistake I have observed is speeding or even just overdriving for the conditions of the road. If there is bumper to bumper traffic, there is no need to dart in and out of lanes just to be two or three cars ahead at the next traffic light.

This causes needless stress on the drivers that you come too close to when darting in and out. If it is raining, back off on your speed and allow yourself more time to get to your location. Getting into an accident or receiving a ticket will take much longer than slowing down 5 or 10 miles per hour.

A huge pet peeve of mine is tailgating, where the car behind follows too closely. There is no need to tailgate. You undoubtedly won't arrive at your destination any faster, but you do put yourself and others at risk with this behavior. Tailgating can be a form of aggression and can potentially lead to anger and road rage. A good rule of thumb, according to Comedyguys.com, is:

  • "3 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead of you for speeds between 35 and 55 mph, in ideal driving conditions (good road surface, good weather, light traffic)
  • 4 seconds for speeds between 55 and 75 mph, or during rain, on wet pavement, or in heavy traffic
  • 7 to 8 seconds for icy or snow-covered roads

"Remember, the whole purpose of a safe following distance is to give you time to brake or to safely drive around a car that stops in front of you," Comedyguys.com wrote. "If conditions like wet pavement affects your brakes' ability to stop your car, give them more time to do their job." (https://www.comedyguys.com/defensive-driving-tips/defensive-driving-tip-8/)

It doesn't take much to be a safe and polite driver. Let's all try to drive as carefully and be as focused as possible, remembering that when children or pedestrians are around, we need to be extra careful and slow down. The goal is to arrive at our destinations alive, without getting a ticket or being involved in a car accident.

Stay safe, Crestview!

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.