Before I spend much energy discussing the driving habits of others, I feel that it is extremely necessary to confess. I have, in the past, received more than one traffic citation, all for the offense of exceeding the posted speed limit.
My average number is something a bit over one per decade of legal driving. I will let you try to guess just how many tickets I have received over the years.
In just the past couple of weeks, we have heard news relating to two highways in the Kansas City metro area. Interstate 435 on the Kansas side always seems to me to be in one stage of construction or another. On the few occasions that I do drive that stretch of highway, it always seems that everyone else is in a much bigger rush than I.
It is a good bet that I am not the only one who noticed. Recently, 130 speeding tickets were issued during a three-hour time span by the Overland Park police. Officer John Lacy, a spokesman for the police department was quoted as saying, “435 is not the Kansas Speedway.” I have to wonder what the fine is for traveling 95 mph in a 55 mph construction zone.
Back on the Missouri side, we learn that a three mile stretch of U.S. 71 is going to see an increase in the speed limit. Anyone who has driven North of Interstate 470 on U.S. 71 has witnessed motorists exceeding the posted 55 mph limit. Now, with the allowable rate of speed being increased to 65 mph, we will undoubtedly see more folks traveling in the 70 mph plus range.
It may seem contradictory that we are trying to convince people to slow down on one highway while encouraging them to speed up on another. Actually, it’s not contradictory at all. Navigating through a construction zone at a high rate of speed is never smart. In fact, it is downright dangerous.
Increasing the speed limit on that portion of U.S. 71 makes sense, as the highway was built to accommodate drivers at that speed. Once traffic clears the last stoplight at 75th Street, it should be smooth sailing at 65 mph all the way to Belton.
So, I’m really OK with the proposed change and I have no issue with the enforcement of existing limits on I-435. It’s some of the driving habits of others that leave me perplexed and sometimes a bit disturbed.
I’d really like to know why there are so many people who think it is necessary to be on a cell phone the entire time they are behind the wheel. I realize that it is not illegal to talk on a phone and drive at the same time. I have used a mobile phone since the days when one was mounted on the floorboard of my 1986 Chevy pickup. Now I use the hands-free option and listen through the speaker system in my vehicle.
Linda and I have made a game out of watching those who rapidly come up from behind and pass us while we are driving on a four-lane highway. If the driver is using a cell phone, as many of them are, we can pretty much count on no turn signal being used when the car takes the lane ahead of us. Then, as the move is made to change lanes and pass the next car, once again, no turn signal.
I realize that I am getting a little older, that I drive a little slower and that I don’t appreciate all the distractions that the world has to offer while I am driving. I have to wonder, however, if all these really busy, distracted drivers fully understand that an automobile traveling at a high rate of speed is potentially a lethal missile.
All I ask is that folks remember what they learned in driver education class. Good driving habits, like good manners, make good sense. Slow down, enjoy the drive, use your turn signals, put away the gadgets and be safe!