Driver's ed neededFrom: James M. HolwayEllicott CityWe...

Readers write

July 29, 1992

Driver's ed needed

From: James M. Holway

Ellicott City

We urgently need a set of videos demonstrating safe driving habits and demonstrating the serious dangers of poor driving habits.

We need a coordinated effort from our TV specialists, our police and our highway engineering and safety specialists.

Over the past few years, I have become increasingly concerned over the traffic and the driving habits in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area. Many of the driving practices on the highway today are endangering everybody.

These practices at 55 miles per hour are dangerous; at 65 and 70-plus mph, the dangers are intensified.

Young drivers today do not recognize the slowing response times of their elders, and they seem to have no understanding about the relationship between the energy of high speeds, stopping distances, and the required separation distance between vehicles.

They do not recognize the dangers of passing other vehicles on ramps to merge lanes, and swinging out one or two lanes to pass vehicles with lower acceleration rates, or more cautious drivers.

Drivers, predominantly young drivers (ages 18 to 33), are aggressively competing for space on the highways. Drivers must learn to give way to traffic in merge lanes and not make a practice of competing with merging traffic.

The problem is more acute when the merge lane is moving into the high-speed lane of a highway (i.e., Route 32 East to I-95 North). Trying to beat the red light, demonstrating 60 mph in six seconds from the green light is displaying ignorance of good defensive driving practice.

The most dangerous stunt is to deliberately move out from a merge lane and cut off the merging vehicle that was in front of you on a high-speed highway or any highway. You immediately endanger the other driver.

The next most dangerous act is to compete with the driver trying to move from a merge lane into your lane of travel.

If a child continually watches a parent pass road signs reading 55 mph at speeds of 60 to 70 mph, and constantly try to outmaneuver other drivers, what message does this send to the child?

I blinked my headlights a few months ago to express annoyance at a driver that had cut me off when I was attempting to merge onto the high speed lane of Route 29 eastbound. The driver instantly went to full power brakes at 65 mph directly in front of me.

TV seems to be the only logical medium for reaching and educating people about safe driving and about the dangers of some current driving habits. It is urgent that this start as quickly as possible.

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