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Put down the phone and drive!
Herald-Guide writer takes on airheads who think they own the road
By Barbara Munson -   Jan 11, 2007

With an airplane car like this one, Barbara's troubles would be over.
With an airplane car like this one, Barbara's troubles would be over.

I've often said that I'd like a Sherman tank and two hours with no state troopers in sight to clean up the streets of the city. I don't really have road rage, but seeing what passes for driving these days makes me kind of understand it.

Is there such a thing as a Citizen's Arrest for bad driving?

It seems like we could put an end to road rage by making sure everyone behind the wheel actually knows how to drive.

In an effort to enlighten those less than skillful drivers, I'd like to pass on a few things. Please note that drunk driving is not covered here, as that would take up the entire paper.

Lesson No. 1: If you're on the Interstate and you're in the wrong lane as your exit approaches, please don't dart across three lanes of traffic. One of us is likely to end up dead, and with my luck it'll be me. In case you didn't notice, there's another exit right up the road.

You can get off there and TURN AROUND. Sure, you'll burn another 4¢ in gas and waste a whole five minutes, but no one will die. Wouldn't that be nice?

Lesson No. 2: If you're on any road and you're not quite sure where you're going, please don't stop in the middle of the street with traffic behind you.

The proper thing to do is to pull off the road, into a parking lot perhaps, and get your bearings.

Then the rest of us won't have to give you the finger or suffer a heart attack. (We actually encountered three such drivers on David Drive in Metairie while we were on the way to the Sugar Bowl; I thought I was going to have to perform CPR on my husband.)

Lesson No. 3: Okay, let's say it's foggy, you know, the kind of heavy fog we've been having lately, the kind that's common in an area surrounded by water?

Here's something you may not know.There's a little switch in the vicinity of your dashboard, and it's used to turn on your headlights. Please use it.

I actually had one man tell me that turning the headlights on in the fog didn't help him to see any better.

I literally started shaking like a leaf just knowing he's on the road in ANY kind of weather.

The actual point of the headlights, folks, is so that OTHER drivers can see you.

This has the wonderful effect of preventing us from plowing into you and getting someone killed or wrecking our vehicles, and isn't that what we all want?

Lesson No. 4: Now we come to my all-time favorite, the cell phone talkers. I've had people run red lights, run stop signs, and drift over into my lane without even realizing it because they're having that all important phone conversation.

Hey, Muffy, while you're in your Beemer talking to Biff about the latest soireé, you're causing me to swerve in my top-heavy SUV - not a good thing.

With the 600 gallons of gas this thing holds, one of us is going up in flames. One of my favorite bumper stickers says, "It's a car, not a phone booth.

Hang up and drive!"I know people have cell phones strapped to them 24/7, but if you're such an important person that you can't afford to miss even one phone call, then you're important enough to have your own personal chauffeur.

If you can't afford a chauffeur, kindly pull off the road before answering or dialing your phone. The rest of us on the road will thank you for it, and we'll all live to see another day.

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