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John Kelly
Friday, September 10, 2010; 12:00 PM

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John Kelly: a column for Monday about how trauamatized I am.That is one of the nice things about having a column. Not that I expect it will do any good, though I do believe that the candidate who delivered on a promise to guarantee no waiting at the MVA could be re-elected every time.What else are surefire campaign platforms?

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Honking: John, I was interested to see your column Tuesday about honking and rage. Can you explain to me why D.C. people love to use their horns so much? I moved here from California 10 years ago and it still drives me crazy that people overuse their horns here. I was taught only to honk in an emergency - like you said, when it's to alert a pedestrian or driver to imminent danger, not the way D.C. people do, simply to express their rage or their inability to drive. I've seen people honk because the person in front of them has the gall to stop at a red light or to let a pedestrian pass. Are you people really so important? Why are D.C. people so rude?

John Kelly: I'm curious to hear what others have to say about this. As for me, I've heard plenty of honking in other places, New York and Boston, for example. I haven't done much driving in California, so I can't compare. Do they have the kind of urban gridlock that we get, or is it more highway sludge? I think you're less likely to someone on the highway than on a street, but I maybe wrong.Then there's the possibility that the people who are honking aren't DC people at all, but are people from elsewhere who just happened to have moved here. I don't buy the whole "No one actually comes from D.C." argument. (I do, for example.) But maybe it's people from elsewhere who do they're honking when they get here.That raises the possibility that there's something about D.C. that turns ordinarily sane people insane. The air? The water? No, probably the traffic. On that we can agree: Traffic is awful.

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Library cards: John, Loved the column about library cards. I love having one, have had one since I was 7 years old, and I use the library all of the time. It's my favorite place. The D.C. libraries are kind of sad, and the collections need work, but the librarian can order books from other branches if you ask. I never pay for hard-cover fiction anymore -- I just get everything at the library. I don't understand why more people don't have cards. I've nagged a couple of friends into getting them. Libraries are the best.

John Kelly: They are. Support your library today! They're in danger of being trimmed even more. I'm especially sad to see hours cut back in the various local history rooms, a source of much information for Answer Man.

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Newspapers committing suicide: Posting a column (and at other times an article) hours, and in this case, two days before it will be in the newspaper, September 12th. Why would I go out and pay you to read the paper on Sunday, let alone today, if you are putting content online, for free, days before it will appear in print? This kind of policy is absolutely insane, and you can thank the powers that be in Post management for losing my money this weekend, and my subscription months ago. It's sad because I love papers, but you are doing much of this to yourselves.

John Kelly: Thanks for your patronage. And you raise an interesting question. A couple of thoughts: I think there's still value to getting the paper since not every article will be posted early. I think we tease some sections early, like that Ted Koppel story from Outlook, but you don't see the entire Outlook section there today. Nor, obviously, do you see news stories about things that haven't happened yet (though you probably will see those online Saturday night).Then there's the matter of format. I like a Sunday paper at my breakfast table. I don't like a computer. I'm willing to pay for that.Why do we put it online for free at all? That's a huge business question, obviously. You have to go back 10 years or more to when newspapers such as The Post felt they had to stake their presence on the Web, even for free, in order to gain eyeballs and advertisers. Now we find that advertising there doesn't earn as much as advertising in print. But papers that put up a paywall on their Web sites, like the London Times recently did, see a precipitous drop in their online readership.We're happy to have you reading online. Happier still if you click on the ads. Happiest if you buy the paper, which I still think is worth the price.

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John Kelly: Hey, how about those Redskins? Undefeated so far!

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California traffic laws: are much stricter than on the East Coast and are more strictly enforced. You can get ticketed for honking, say at a pedestrian crossing the street. They've always been ahead of the rest of the country on that issue and probably always will be.But yes, road rage has multiplied excessively of recent years, and I am sad to acknowledge it.

John Kelly: California isn't immune to road rage. Didn't they have a spate of highway shootings? (Or should that be freeway shootings?)Speaking of honking at pedestrians, anyone seen this?

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John Kelly: The traffic enforcement issue reminds me of the notion of broken windows: If you police the small things, maybe the big things won't have a chance to develop. I often wish for a police officer when I see the sort of irritating, selfish driving that so often occurs: the changing lanes without signaling, the honking the instant a light turns green. The police might say this is small potatoes compared to really serious stuff but my driving mood would be improved immeasurably by seeing these clowns get ticketed.

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Honking: At first I thought this was a typo for Hong Kong. ;-) Then I read on. I don't honk very much, of only from a design flaw. I drive a 1996 Jeep Cherokee (260K miles) . The design of the steering wheel is such that the center is the air bag, while the horn buttons are on the side spokes, which radiate at 9 and 3 o'clock. But if I have my hands at 10 and 2, getting to the horn buttons requires a bit of fumbling. Thus it's only when I can foresee trouble that I move my hands into position ahead of time, otherwise it will be too late.

John Kelly: You're obviously old school. Now they teach new drivers to keep their hands at 9 and 3 rather than 10 and 2. I think some even recommend 8 and 4. The reason, supposedly, is to lessen the chance of injury to your arms if the airbag deploys. But I'd rather drive in a way that keeps the airbag from coming out, which means 10 and 2.

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Honking fail: that is SO Monty Python that I'm thinking it was faked.

John Kelly: Yes, I agree.

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Honker and Proud: I use my horn and am not ashamed. I do it if I feel like someone's coming into my lane and I don't think they see me. I do it if the light's turned green and it's been three seconds and they haven't moved. I do it if they cut me off because I think they didn't know but should be told, "Hey, you cut me off. Thank goodness I saw you, but next time you might want to look." It's all about educating them.

John Kelly: All I know is, most people's reaction to getting honked at--if they feel they're in the right or (more likely) they just don't give a stuff-- is to flip you the bird. Not a teachable moment.

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Sunday Paper: I agree with the earlier commenter about the problem with things posted before the Sunday paper arrives on my doorstep. I now check very carefully when reading online on Friday and Saturday because more times than I care to say, I've read half of the Sunday paper before I have it in my soon-to-be ink-stained hands. I also hate the fact that my carrier has started giving the Sunday inserts on Saturday. I want the whole thing together, thank you!

John Kelly: Let me ask you this: Since you've read those stories for free on Friday and Sunday why do you resent paying for them on Sunday? Haven't we basically loaned them to you for two days? Would you rather we not let you read them early?

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"Undefined": Why are you "Undefined"?

John Kelly: Umm, I don't know what you're talking about. I think the word you may be looking for is "undefinable."

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Arlington Gay: I had to go to the DMV in Arlington on Wednesday with a rather complicated problem. I was out of there in 40 minutes, solution taken care of.

John Kelly: My last few MVA visits weren't very bad either. But this one more than made up for it. I know it's a cliche to gripe about the MVA/DMV but, really, five hours? That's worthy of a federal investigation.

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I like a Sunday paper at my breakfast table. : Someday they'll build computer screens into our table tops so we can eat and read without getting ink smudges on the table.

John Kelly: I'm sorry to say you're probably right.

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California isn't immune to road rage. Didn't they have a spate of highway shootings? (Or should that be freeway shootings?): Yes, but you can thank the NRA for those. Oh, also, they took place on freeways, which by definition have fewer police cars out there monitoring.

John Kelly: Wait, you mean Erik Estrada isn't out there in his gloves and too-tight shirt?

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I do it if the light's turned green and it's been three seconds and they haven't moved.: These sorts really kill me. Can you even wait half a dozen SECONDS before you start honking? Go back to New Jersey and get some medicine for that before you burst a blood vessel.

John Kelly: I sometimes wish we had a second horn, the way we have parking lights along with regular headlights. One horn--softer, mellifluous--would be for gentle reminders. I mean, I don't mind someone honking at me if I truly don't see the light has changed. What I hate is when they lay on the horn the instant it goes from red to green.

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er, didn't they invent road rage in California?: Please don't tell me people don't honk their horns in L. A.!

John Kelly: I know they toot their own horns. Polticians in Washington do, too.

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I had the worst case of road rage ever a few weeks ago: Tailgater behind me thought I was going too slow. I refused to speed up since I was in the right lane and he had plenty of room to pass me in the lane to the left. He kept getting closer and closer and I thought he was going to hit my rear. Finally he start to veer to the exit and I was relieved. Only he didn't exit, he passed me on the right, using the break down lane. THEN SLAMMED ON HIS BREAKS FULL STOP ON A HIGHWAY (in Richmond, Virginia). I am truly lucky I was able to break and veer off so quickly. What. A. Jerk. I still get anxious thinking about the whole thing.

John Kelly: I suggest a roof-mounted Sidewinder missile.

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Re: Honking: In the small Canadian city in which I currently live, people honk to say "hi" to friends they see on the street, or to thank someone who let them pull out of a driveway, or other innocuous, non-rage-y activities. They never honk when angry - they wind down their window and yell. Our first few months here, I wondered why all these people were honking while driving along with no traffic. I still jump if someone honks at me to say hi.

John Kelly: That's great, eh!By the way, one of the points I was trying to make in my column was that the rage of this other person put my rage in perspective. I saw how ridiculous he looked and that made me look at myself and think: Is that how I appear? I know the traffic sucks, but maybe I should just try to relax.

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re Honker and proud: I tend to do the same as the previous chatter. And as for the not-going-on-green thing, look, if it's been several seconds (I don't mean people who honk the instant it turns), then the driver in front is simply not paying attention and, while I, being right behind, will probably make the light, they have just screwed several other drivers farther back. Especially if it's (1) a short green light or (2) one where there's a long interval between greens, I'm actually honking out of consideration for the people behind me. I'd say 19 times out of 20, the inattentive driver snaps to attention and moves, knowing he or she was wrong. I don't remember the last time I got the finger or a similar reaction in that situation.

John Kelly: A perfect circumstance for my soft-horn, or whatever we call it. Maybe it should play a snippet of music. "Drive My Car"? "Blue Danube Waltz"?

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I often wish for a police officer..: Problem is, especially in D.C., often the offender IS a police officer.

John Kelly: but they should use their turn signals.

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Soft horn: I use the double-tap on my horn for this. I'm not HOOOONNNNKKKing, it's a beep-beep. Just to get someone's attention if the light is green, or some similar situation.

John Kelly: That's a good idea. It sounds like something Herbie the Love Bug would do. And no one can get made at Herbie the Love Bug, can they? I mean, except for Freddie, the Passive-Aggressive BMW.

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Soft Horn Song: Since it's just to point out that someone is slow, how about the Jeopardy Jingle?

John Kelly: Great idea. Or maybe every car should have a bank of options on the steering wheel, the way the Wurlitzer guy at the ballpark does.

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Road Rage: Back when I was in Indiana ("Back Home again...") at the IU Museum, we were preparing an exhibit which would feature our 1892 automobile (handmade, one of the first ever made in the US), I had cause to use interlibrary loan (how's that for two threads in one post) to get some early editions of "Horseless Age." That was a mag for auto enthusiasts back then. It included features on all sorts of new inventions, rear view mirrors, etc.One of the features that I thought we could still use was a sign board in the rear window with such messsages as "back off," "your turn signal is on," "your left brake light is out."

John Kelly: Ha! In a related note, let me share a Post article I found recently from 1901. The headline was "Pound for Autos Next," the subhed, "Police Finding Costly Machines Stalled or Abandoned on the Streets":"The latest things the police of this city have been called upon to look out for and take care of are its strayed, lost and exhausted automobiles..."It's the first mention of impound lots.

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talk about the finger: I was ventilating to my friend about a disagreement with my boss, and wondered why she kept laughing when I said I gave him a graphic display to illustrate my point. I meant I drew up a chart showing my interpretation, but she thought I mean I flipped him the bird!

John Kelly: We should all carry PowerPoint with us.

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Honk if You Hate the DMV/MVA: I love the fact that the DMV should in theory be self-funding yet the hours and service suck. We pay a fees every year that should cover the cost of running the dumb things, but as soon as money gets tight they cut hours and close locations. Seriously, drive by the one in Tysons any day and you'll see a line around the building. Yet somehow fairfax has a huge goverment center and new $500mm courthouse. Grrrr. At least its not D.C., I guess.

John Kelly: I wondered why an efficiency expert hadn't been hired, or someone to do a time-motion study. Talk about lost productivity.

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School starting time: Yesterday, I came to the decision that my life would be easier if all high schools started at 9:00 a.m. I left home a few minutes later than normal (not a good idea on the first week of school). I was driving near one of the high schools about 20 minutes before classes began for the day and traffic was gridlocked. The drivers just made things worse by asserting their right to enter the intersection as soon as the light turned green (blocking others in the intersection). If school started 90 minutes later, none of those teen drivers would have been on the road so early. Loudoun county starts late, why can't the other counties do the same?

John Kelly: My understanding is that there are a finite number of school buses, which must be shared by all schools, elementary through high school. Littler kids get up earlier than teens, but do you really want them at the bus stop at 6:30 a.m.? So they have the teens out there at that time. Then the buses are used for middle school, then elementary.

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Kindle/IPad as ways to read papers?: John, what's your take on the Kindle option to subscribe to papers? Do you think this will help the revenue stream?

John Kelly: I don't know the details. I guess as long as it doesn't cannibalize, that's good. My mother loves her Kindle. I've never used one.What do you think?

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Sunday Paper II: I'm 36 years old and have loved poring over the Washington Post Sunday paper since the only thing I understood was the comics. I don't resent paying for something I can get for free 2 days earlier. I just wish there was a warning sign that said - beware - if you read this now, you'll be robbed of the enjoyment of reading it while you drink your tea and watch CBS Sunday Morning. It makes me sad when I open the metro section on Sunday morning and realize I've already read half of the articles because they were on the web on Friday or Saturday. Hence, I practically block myself from the Post online on Friday and Saturday so that I don't ruin my Sunday morning paper love affair.

John Kelly: On behalf the journalists of America, I thank you.There is one clue: The stories usually have a dateline on them. That Koppel one, for example, says Sept. 12. And here's a heads up that my story about Oxford runs in the Magazine this Sunday. Don't click on that link if you want to wait till Sunday to read it!

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Winning Campaign Issue: Fix Metro. Fix the constant price hikes, shoddy service, constant service cuts and the significant number of uninterested employees (on the bright side, compared to allegations that the Post mentioned today, uninterested employees don't assault passengers). If someone were to make this their sole campaign platform and had a way to succeed, even if he or she disagreed with me on everything else, I'd vote on that issue alone.

John Kelly: A chicken in every pot and an on-time train in every station!

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MD,DC,VA breed the bad driving: I think the local police breed bad driving by not being more aggressive in punishing aggressive driving. I think the local police should be stricter on enforcing speeding, aggressive driving, running stop lights, and the myriad of other traffice violations that go largely ignored today. First, it would make people drive safer and second it would inject some much needed money into the local DOT's. That money can then go towards works projects which will get some people back to work. And it doesn't even have to be draconian, just ticketing those people going more than 10 miles over the speed limit will inject a huge amount of money into the system. Look what the speed cameras and red light cameras have done for MoCo and they only catch those going more than 12 miles over the speed limit. I think we need more of this or we are just encouraging abusive and aggressive driving habits and thus, we are breeding rude drivers.

John Kelly: Here's a question for you all: Have you ever seen a police officer actually ignore a traffic infraction? Or are we just thinking of times when we've seen something and wished an officer was around?

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Honking: I will give a good, steady honk (and a glare if I can) when people change lanes and there isn't enough room so I am forced to brake - or hit them. I will only give a gentle tap if they don't move when the light changes.

John Kelly: One vote for gentle tap. One vote for quicky double.

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Wrong link to your column about honking horns: It takes me to your column about library cards.Column: There's always someone to take over title of angriest person in a traffic jam

John Kelly: Whoops. Here's the library card column.

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DMV better now: In Virginia the DMV has a system where you get a number and then you can go sit down until your number flashes on the electronic sign. This is a thousand times better than when I was getting my drivers license in Maryland in the 1980s and you had to stand in snaking lines for 2 or 3 hours.

John Kelly: Yes, true, but, as my experience yesterday proves, that isn't foolproof. We have the same thing in MD.

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The DMV : John: We are all dying to know--what were you doing at the DMV that took 5 hours? I have been to DMV headquarters in Glen Burnie to get a replacement copy of a title and it didn't take that long. Of course, if you want to hold it for the print edition so that people will buy the paper, I understand.I get the Sunday paper, by the way, because reading comics on a computer screen is inherently unsatisfying. Thank god the Post has kept the Sunday comics at a readable size, unlike the Baltimore Sun, which has relegated them to the back of the tabloid sized TV section. You need a magnifying glass to get the jokes.

John Kelly: Yes, I will wait tillMonday for the details, though I think I've already said it was to get a driver's license for my daughter.

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Library of Alexandria: In your otherwise excellent article on libraries, you correctly state that the Library of Alexandria burned down in ancient times. Having been to (the other) Alexandria recently, I can report it has been resurrected in a most interesting manner.

John Kelly: What's interesting is that the Alexandria Central Library on Duke Street sort of looks Egyptian. Architect Michael Graves stuck a couple of pyramids on it.

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Montrose Parkway: John. What do you know about Montrose Parkway? Where it is supposed to go? It's a lovely road, but seems so short.

John Kelly: I don't know that I know anything about it.

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Second horn?: How about a seven-second delay on when the horn sounds after you hit it?

John Kelly: That could get you in trouble. And people would start using it proactively: That guy looks like he's going to be trouble. I better honk now, just in case.

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Honking for pet peeves: I admit that I do honk slightly more when I see a traffic violation by a person with a hand-held cell phone especially since that is illegal in many parts of our region. I have an ear piece for my phone so that I can keep both hands on the wheel. Although some people can drive well enough with one hand occupied, many cannot and think they can. I want them and the person they are talking to to know that they are NOT driving safely.

John Kelly: There's the way to raise money! Police should just set up at an intersection--almost any one will do: University and Colesville in Silver Spring; 16th and K NW in DC--and issue $40 tickets to people holding a cell phone. The dough would be rolling in. And maybe people would stop eventually, resulting in safer drivers.

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"Half a dozen seconds"?!: There are an awful lot of intersections around here where that is the *whole freaking light*! Seriously? Try counting one- through three-Mississippi and tell me you really, truly think that's a reasonable amount of time to sit there checking your BlackBerry while everyone behind you is waiting.

John Kelly: How about counting "one potato, two potato"? Is that any better?

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Three Seconds: Yeah, that's how long you get to move. Six seconds? Really? Count six seconds. One-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand, four-one-thousand, five-one-thousand, six-one-thousand. That is a long time to be waiting at a green light with no one moving - and it means probably three more cars that don't make the light when it turns red again. If you're first in line at a light, your job is to pay attention to the light. I don't honk the second it turns green, I'm a reasonable person - but yeah, you get three seconds to notice it's green, then I'm honking.

John Kelly: Ah, the old "one-one thousand, two-one-thousand."We have so many options. Dashboard-mounted chess clocks?

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The media and the Koran burner: John: As a journalist, how do you feel about the attention the American media has lavished on the "pastor' with a 50-member church in Gainesville? Why in the world did Katie Couric, the Today Show and others gin up this Koran burning controversy by wanting to interview this hustler who, it turns out, was virtually run out of Germany for shady business practices in a church he had there. I think the media set a deplorable precedent here but would love your take. Thanks.

John Kelly: I don't think it would have gotten nearly as much attention if it wasn't for the so-called "Ground Zero mosque," which, of course, isn't a mosque and isn't at Ground Zero. Journalists like dichotomies--two sides--and this fit the bill. He's a lone loon. Of course, the First Amendment does protect his right to do what he says he wanted to do.

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I have an ear piece for my phone so that I can keep both hands on the wheel. : You are being just as distracted as they are, as many studies have shown.

John Kelly: True, but the laws allow hands-free. So if we're going to gouge people to raise money, we have to go after the ones who don't use that. And be honest, haven't you seen some drivers juggling that phone in dangerous ways?

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Honking and pedestrians: One of the best traffic-related things I've ever seen. At Farragut Square, some cars were trying to make a right turn on a red light, blocking the crosswalk (as usual). One car honked at a pedestrian who was crossing, though it was the pedestrian's right and she had the walk sign. The pedestrian's response? Kick the car's bumper and keep moving.

John Kelly: I've slammed my open palm down on the flank of a car that whipped too close to me as I was crossing on a green light. It stung my hand. And then I worried the guy might stop the car.

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"Have you ever seen a police officer actually ignore a traffic infraction?": Many, many, many, many, many times. In MD, DC and VA. I see it more often than I see the police actually stopping the offender.

John Kelly: I dont think I have, to be honest.

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Reporting Aggressive Drivers Online: Gaithersburg is about to implement a new system where people can report aggressive drivers online. The police will then send the offending party a letter but cannot give them a ticket. The police will also look at if there are patterns to where the aggressive drivers are reported and send more cops to those areas. I think this is a great idea. What do you think? Here's the story. Also, my solution to people who don't go for a few seconds after the light has turned green is that I just give my horn a very light tap as a way to draw their attention to it without being obnoxious.

John Kelly: That sounds like a great idea to me. There will probably be some drivers who don't respond, but before you can get punitive I think you have to be encouraging. Give people the opportunity to change.

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Mini Driver: I really try and wait at a green light before honking because I know how obnoxious it is to get honked at if you don't move the nanosecond the light changes. I also try and see if the person is looking down or otherwise not paying attention. I will start counting to 3 or 4 slowly before I give a very brief tap on the horn, not an obnoxious blast. As you know John, Mini horns are suprisingly loud so I try and be judicious with its use. I also will use the horn if someone starts coming over in my lane - however, I've noticed a new trend lately where instead of the offender pulling back over into their lane, they'll still cut me off after I have to break sharply to avoid getting hit. It's like "oh, you're going to stop for me before I hit you? Okay, I'll keep coming over then". Luckily as you know, the Mini also has superior brakes...

John Kelly: And a Mini driver would never break the law.

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Police: My favorite, which I've seen a number of times in D.C., is when they approach a red light, hit the lights and siren, pass through the intersection, and then turn off the lights and siren and keep going.

John Kelly: Are you suggesting they are not on their way to a crime scene?

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DMV: I have lived in MD, NY, DC and now VA. VA really lives up to the stereotypical horrible DMV reputation. There was a state-wide computer outage the first time I went, but I guess it was short-lived and never made the news, and other various problems when I went back. I could write a book, so I won't get started but it's AMAZING how bad it was. DC looks like the model of efficiency when compared to VA, and that's saying a lot. I pray I never have to go back there!(Totally agree with you on the broken windows theory too. It drives me crazy when someone runs a red light right in front of a police car, and they do nothing)

John Kelly: As I said, my last few experiences with MVA in Maryland were great. In and out very quickly. But this last one was so very bad... Can't we put Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking on it?

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Re: honking: area, and when I retired to Florida, I found that no one here uses their horn. At first I honked when the jerks just sat there through half the light, but you pick up on the prevailing culture. Now I suffer in silence through missed lights, but it really annoys me at how thoughtless people are of those waiting behind them.

John Kelly: That lends credence to the nurture argument, as opposed to nature. There's something about the setting that influences people's behavior.

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RE: Honker and Proud: A couple things stood out to me in that post, but mostly it was the line about "educating them." First of all, we're all in this terrible traffic together. It's an "us." Not a "Me" and "Them." I find it difficult to believe the poster has never done any of those things - inadvertently - while driving. Second all, this is not Driver's Ed. Other motorists should not take it upon themselves to "educate" the other drivers. And think about the totality of that lesson you just "taught" "them" - not only are you scolding them for doing something that is an (mostly) inconvenience to you, but you showed them the way to deal with it is by being agressive and yelling at them. That's just what we need on our crowded streets - more drivers who feel it is okay to "educate" by honking.

John Kelly: Exactly. I certainly understand the sentiment. Idiot drivers are annoying. But I just don't think it actually does any good. Honking doesn't actually inspire them to drive "better."

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Sunday Insert: My old carrier used to provide the Sunday insert with the Saturday paper; my new one does not. I preferred the way my old carrier did it. It was always better to have the coupons a day earlier. Not so much anymore, as gorcery stores run their sales from Friday to Thursday (or Thursday to Wednesday) instead of Sunday to Saturday. Still, if I want to have all coupons available to me, and not have to make two trips to the grocery store, I have to wait until Sunday now.

John Kelly: inserts and all. But then you'd basically be buying two papers.

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John Kelly: Not that there's anything wrong with that....

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often the offender IS a police officer: I'll never forget that case in Virginia where several cars were driving over 100 on 95, refused to pull over for Virginia State police, were intimidating other drivers. Ends up they were New Jersey police who thought they shouldn't have to stop for Virginia State Police.

John Kelly: Were they hoping to make it to the border? And did they realize that Virginia doesn't share a border with New Jersey?

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Honking: I don't normally, but if its, say, yesterday, I will Was on the Dulles Greenway, and somebody decided to switch into my lane- problem was they were parallel to me in the next lane over, and I saw them move, honked, and then kept on honking as they kept trying to either push me out of the lane, or assume I was going to step on my brakes and let them in. I'm glad they used their turn signal-I just can't see it if I'm right next to them. Also: in Virginia at least, there have been articles saying that it's illegal for drivers to flash their lights at people. Because of this, I use my horn- would much prefer the flick of the headlights.

John Kelly: If someone uses his turn signal I'm much more inclined to let them in.

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Enforcing the Traffic laws: So while they are out writing tickets to make the roads safer for the wimpy drivers the crooks are robbing your house or selling illegal drugs to your kids. Yeah I have driven past radar traps on Rt 7 between Leesburg and Berryville this past weekend with the cruise control set at 65mph and the cops and troopers didn't move. Only 12 mph and above the speed limit. Finite resources and too many officers are becoming revenue agents instead of fighting crime. D.C. is not nearly as aggressive as NYC or Boston. You want real aggressive try driving in Rome! Speed limits should be set at 80 percentile and not for revenue generation. I don't speed in residential areas or school zones but I have been known to make it from the I81 and I66 exit to my exit on I66 at 7100 in less than 15 minutes early one Sunday morning.

John Kelly: It doesn't seem like those should be our choices: safe roads or drugfree kids; good drivers or secure homes. I think we should be able to have both. Of course, I also think you shouldn't have to spend five hours at the MVA, so maybe I'm a dreamer.

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do you really want them at the bus stop at 6:30 a.m.? : I would rather have a 1st grader at the bus stop than a sleepy teen behind the wheel. And I am sure a smart person could come up with a plan to get kids to school without making anyone wait outside at 6:30 a.m.

John Kelly: Yeah, until the first-grader gets creamed by a car because it's so dark and no one saw her.

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Honking horns: Some years ago, I was walking to my job on Constitution Ave. in NW during morning rush hour. I heard a horn over and over. I was so close to the driver I could look and see it was a guy wearing a business suit with a briefcase at his side. The thing was that here was NO ONE in front of him at the time.Maybe he just felt aggressive and felt like getting out those feelings?

John Kelly: Probably a drummer keeping time to the music.

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f you police the small things, maybe the big things won't have a chance to develop.: This isn't a hypothetical, Giuliani did it and it worked. In NYC. If anyone stepped foot in New York in the 70's or 80's you can appreciate how much of an improvement that city is now, and it all started with the broken windows theory ( if you're too young then rent Mean Streets or Taxi Driver). DC could use this very much right now, but from living here for several years it will never happen because, to be honest, the people who live here have too much liberal guilt to crack down on the poor (literally, as in , economically) criminals. Rudy didn't have that problem, and yeah he was a jerk, but it worked.

John Kelly: Aren't there some who say crime would have gone down anyway, as a result of changes in population, ie the numbers of young males? Still, I'd rather a clean window than a broken one.

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John Kelly: Boy, lots of great questions and comments today. My apologies if I didn't get to yours. Be careful and considerate behind the wheel. The person in that other car could be someone's daughter. Mine, for example.More Answer Man in the paper Sunday and a full slate of columns next week. And don't miss my travel story in Sunday's Magazine, whether you read it online or in print. And if you don't want to read it, at least look at the pictures. They're the best part.Cheers.


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