“Hey lady. Yes, you, the one who was on the cell phone and almost rear-ended me three times in less than one quarter of a mile on my way to work Tuesday. Pay attention.”

“When I can’t see the headlights on your Toyota pickup truck in my rearview mirror you’re too close. You’re even closer when I can only see a small portion of your hood as I watch to see if I’m about to get popped from behind when I begin braking for the light ahead that is red. It doesn’t help that you’ve got a lei hanging from your mirror that swoops all the way to your dash and blocks your view to the right.”

What is it with people who try to multitask while driving several thousand pounds of metal and plastic down the highway? Why do some people insist on having something hanging from the mirror that can block their view of the roadway and hazards that may quickly pop up?

I’m constantly amazed by drivers’ actions. You never know what to expect. That’s why I get on a tirade from time to time about drivers who aren’t courteous and don’t pay attention.

On the way home from work late Monday afternoon a young man passed me in a black vehicle. I looked over and saw that he was holding his phone up with his right hand while steering with his left. He was obviously paying more attention to the text he was sending than the heavy traffic on Alabama Highway 35 heading out of town.

Then there is the guy who passed as I crossed the causeway beyond Randall’s Chapel United Methodist Church. He then swerved back into the right lane — without a signal — behind the vehicle in front of me. He used his brakes to avoid hitting that car and I had to do the same to allow for safe distance between the vehicles. Moments later he turned right at Clemons Road — again without any type of signal. Ah, he was all of a couple of seconds ahead of the game.

Signal lights aren’t just to be used as an option. Turn signals are to let other drivers around you know in advance what you’re planning to do and where you intend to turn. I heard the results of a recent survey over the weekend that determined that 30 percent of all accidents are caused in part by failure of drivers to use turn signals.

Don’t bother using one if you’re going to slam on the brakes as you get to an intersection and let it blink once or twice before you make that sliding right turn into a roadway or parking lot. Chances are, I’ll be far enough behind you that I won’t hit you. But, what about the other guy, the one that’s on the cellphone following too closely — will he rear-end you?

Yes, turn signals have a purpose. The proper use of the simple device indicates your intention to other drivers. If you’re about to make a turn, are merging into traffic, or changing lanes, use the lever on the left hand side of the steering column. It’s not only common courtesy toward others but it’s a safety factor. It lets those drivers around you know to slow down and pay attention.

Believe you me with the lady in the Toyota pickup following close behind I turned my turn signal light on well in advance of making a right turn into the office Tuesday morning. I normally do so about 500 feet before I will be turning. On this morning I stretched it out a couple of hundred extra feet and tapped my brakes to get her to, if not back off a bit, realize I would be making a right turn. It worked. 

Pay attention out there. Focus on the task at hand.

And remember drive defensively because there are no boundaries to what other drivers may do at any moment and you’ve got to be prepared to avoid an accident.

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