Must be the heat. Through the summer, I’ve heard from many travelers upset about the way other travelers are behaving.
As we pivot into the fall’s more active times for local travel, here are some friendly suggestions, stern warnings and vents from your neighbors.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
When driving in Montgomery County, you don’t have to wait long before someone in another car does something to create a dangerous situation. The most frequent offense is tailgating.
No matter what your speed, if you check the mirror, there is somebody one inch from your rear bumper. You can try speeding up; you can try slowing down. It does not matter what you do. The one-inch separation is constant.
We see that deaths and injuries are way up on our roads. There are two reasons: (1) Ignorant, selfish sociopaths behind the wheel, and (2) reckless endangerment so extreme it is impossible for the police to do anything about it.
There is an easy fix. Deploy a lot of speed cameras and move them around from time to time, as has been done in the District. When you enter the District from Montgomery County, you will notice an immediate change in driver behavior. There are no tailgaters. And people really do stick to the 25-mph speed limit that is in effect on most secondary roads.
Now, I know what you are thinking. When people are killed or maimed in traffic accidents, many of them are getting exactly what they deserve. But what about all their innocent victims — their passengers and people in other cars?
It is time to seriously consider ramping up the use of speed cameras and the fines for reckless drivers.
— Richard C. Kreutzberg, Bethesda
I agree wholeheartedly with the letter-writer that tailgating is a problem. I endorse the use of traffic-enforcement cameras to target specific problems, though I’m not sure any type of camera will help with the tailgating.
One thing I definitely was not thinking: That anybody hurt in a crash is getting what they deserve. I like the concept expressed in the Vision Zero international traffic-safety program: No deaths or serious injuries are acceptable. And if that means we once in a while have to protect a sociopath, so be it.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
This is one you’ve mentioned before: the lack of signaling, which is a problem both when I’m driving and when I’m walking.
●I’m walking along the sidewalk about to cross a side street. A car approaching on the main street does not signal, then turns onto the street I’m about to cross, causing me to leap back onto the curb.
●I have stopped at a light at an intersection, signaling my intention to turn left when the light changes. The driver opposite me has no signal on. When the light changes, I wait for the other driver to proceed through, but then the other driver signals a left turn and does indeed turn left, meaning I waited for no reason.
●The driver in front of me pulls to the right, but not to the curb (no signal). I wait to determine the driver’s intention, then begin to pull past. Just then, the other driver turns in front of me into a driveway on the opposite side of the street.
Do the driving schools not teach signaling anymore, and is it not on any of the local tests?
— Laidler Campbell, Springfield
It’s still a feature of driver training, but not driver practice. Why is that?
Some drivers say people don’t signal because they don’t want other drivers to know what they’re doing and try to take advantage. Maybe, but I see plenty of drivers failing to signal when there’s no possibility another driver will speed up or make a quick turn in front of them.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
The proliferation of ride sharing has resulted in an epidemic of double-parking and cars blocking bike lanes to pick up passengers. This is rude to other drivers and dangerous to bike riders. The District’s streets are congested enough without adding to the problem by double-parking and forcing bicyclists to ride outside of bike lanes.
— James Brush,
Big topics among travelers during spring and summer: They complain about food trucks violating rush-hour parking restrictions, double-parkers and bike-lane blockers. D.C. police and the city’s Transportation and Public Works departments need to get together on enforcement.
Dr. Gridlock also appears Thursday in Local Living. Comments and questions are welcome and may be used in a column, along with the writer’s name and home community. Write Dr. Gridlock at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or email email@example.com.