I was driving down Main Avenue in Warwick the other day and saw a young woman standing on the sidewalk in the crosswalk, so I stopped to let her cross. The car behind me obviously did not agree with …
I was driving down Main Avenue in Warwick the other day and saw a young woman standing on the sidewalk in the crosswalk, so I stopped to let her cross. The car behind me obviously did not agree with that decision, and almost rear-ended me. He then swiftly sped around my car and gave me “the finger”, almost hitting the girl who had started to cross the street. Isn’t there a LAW against that? Come to find out, there IS… “All pedestrians must follow traffic control signals. If there is no traffic signal but there is a crosswalk, then the pedestrian has the right of way. The driver of a vehicle shall yield the right of way and stop to allow the pedestrian to cross the roadway within the crosswalk.” Most people are not aware of this rule, or, if they are, they ignore it. Many years ago, a gentleman who was blind and used a white cane, was mowed down and seriously injured when crossing in a crosswalk. This not only violates the law about stopping for someone in a crosswalk, but also violates the White Cane Law, which indicates if a pedestrian is blind and uses a white cane or a guide dog, drivers must yield the right-of-way and allow them to cross, even in a non-crosswalk area.
Another law which I have broken is that a car should not be driven if there is a significant amount of snow or ice on it on the car that might reasonably be expected to blow off the vehicle and obscure the vision of another operator. My OWN vision was compromised last winter when I drove my snow-covered car. When I stopped at a red light, the entire amount of snow from the roof slid forward and completely covered my windshield. Mortified and embarrassed, I then had to hold up traffic as I got out and swept it off.
My biggest surprise is the law against distracted driving. Of course, talking and texting on a cell phone while driving is illegal, and every knows that. However, the actual definition of distracted driving includes any activity that diverts attention from driving, INCLUDING eating and drinking, talking to other people in the vehicle, fiddling with the stereo or navigation system, and grooming - anything that takes the attention away from the task of safe driving. Reportedly, just reaching for an object while driving makes a driver 8 times more likely to crash, and eating makes drivers 3 times more likely to crash. I was horrified at this fact because food and drink from Wendy’s, Burger King, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donuts regularly sits in the console of my car within reach of my hunger and thirst. It never dawned on me that eating and drinking while driving is so dangerous. Also, it is reported that interacting with passengers such as children and pets can be dangerous. In a study conducted by AAA, it was found that dealing with children in a vehicle was 12 times more distracting than talking on a cell phone. It is estimated that 10% of distracted driving accidents are related to passenger distractions. Drivers need to be aware of how distracting other people can be in the vehicle and remember to keep their eyes on the road. Personal grooming behind the wheel can also be distracting. While it might only take a few seconds to brush hair or put on ChapStick, it takes even less time to get into an accident. Drivers who take their eyes off the road for only a few seconds while doing 55 miles an hour travel a distance equivalent to the length of a football field blindfolded. When it comes to driving, there is no acceptable amount of time for drivers to take their eyes off the road. Even more surprisingly, this distractibility law is not only in effect while the car is in motion, but also when stopped at red lights or stop signs!
No more drinking, eating, chatting with my passengers, changing the radio station, or brushing my hair for me. I need to pay attention so I can stop for that person in the crosswalk!