Automobile safety is simple: Obey the law

Posted: Monday, November 10, 2003

Juneau's dreadful history with deadly automobile accidents has one common denominator: Inattentive drivers. Exclusive of the recent tragedy at Loop Road and Stephen Richards Drive, in my 23 years of driving the streets of Juneau I have witnessed some of the most insane driving anywhere. I have driven such infamously dangerous cities as Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles as well as other large metropolis, but nothing compares to here.

Not to toot my horn (pun intended), but I have had no accidents or tickets in the hundreds of thousands of miles driven all over the U.S. I attribute my driving record, in part, to a conscientious effort to drive with both eyes open and a desire to read and obey traffic signs. We should not be quick to judge the engineers responsible for the design of the intersections. We need to examine our own driving abilities.

As I have opined in the past, much of the idiocy observed stems from the fact that the offending driver fails to read simple traffic signs or fails to give in to the rules of the road governing the right-of-way.

A classic issue occurs almost continuously at the intersections along Loop Road. When the green signal illuminates for cross streets, the left-turning drivers think they can proceed with their turn - ignoring oncoming traffic and even pedestrians.

One would think that after numerous close calls, the drivers would learn to look adjacent to the green light and read these simple words: left turn yield on green. Perhaps we should changes the signs to some sort of pictograph depicting vehicles with bent metal and the international symbol for "no stupid."

Can we all read signs? The biggest word on the sign is yield. If you struggle with such a big word, consider a remedial vocabulary course at a grade school of your choosing.

Please excuse my sarcasm, but I have had enough of the near misses and accidents caused by inattentiveness. Wake up Juneau drivers. Read the signs!

Andrew J. Hohenthaner


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