Drivers' 'stoplight slip' a nasty new traffic fad Dangerous: In this dicey maneuver, a motorist swings past a line of stopped cars by driving -- illegally -- on the right shoulder.

The Intrepid Commuter

December 09, 1996

THERE'S A NEW DANCE in town -- but this one is done at the wheel. Call it the "stoplight slip."

It goes like this: Slow up in the lane of traffic, then come to a stop. Grind your teeth as the lead car holds everyone up to turn; then zip by the other jerks (illegally) on the right shoulder.

Baltimore resident Chris Hart calls this maneuver "the nastiest traffic fad."

"I have witnessed this stupid move four times in the last week in both urban and suburban settings," Hart wrote Intrepid One. "This careless jerk has to make a quick adjustment to get around parked cars on the right on the other side of the intersection or at least do some dicey moves to beat out the cars that are entering the intersection on green."

Your wheelster has witnessed the stoplight slip too many times to count. Frequently, it's been performed at Bellona and Gittings avenues in the lovely city hamlet of Cedarcroft.

It's the rudest of car moves sparked by an impatient driver who seeks road supremacy at the cost of other drivers and pedestrians.

Baltimore County traffic experts were astounded when asked why someone would attempt such a driving feat.

"If anybody is that goofy, they should definitely be issued a summons for it," says Sgt. Robert Hull of the Western District traffic sector.

In the city, which has few road shoulders, the slip is harder to do. At times, impatient drivers take to the curb in an attempt to get ahead.

Either way, it's dirty dancing.

Officer James Schaekel of the city police traffic investigation squad says doing the stoplight slip will cost you $70 in fines and one point against your driving record, if you are caught.

Think about that the next time you get the urge to do the slip.

Crash that killed boy, 3, led Kiwanis Club to action

The devastating accident on Interstate 83 in late October that took the life of Jonathon Terpak, 3, may have led to a positive change.

Jonathon and his grandmother were rendered unconscious in the accident near the Belfast Road exit, and police and paramedics were unable to notify his parents. After hours of frantic worry, the Terpaks of Timonium learned that Jonathon was at Johns Hopkins Hospital -- but it was too late. He had died nearly four hours before their arrival.

Because children rarely carry identification, this tragedy was, for hours, an impossible situation.

Enter the Kiwanis Club of Loch Raven.

As a way to help identify children injured in automobile accidents, the Kiwanis Club has printed small, neon-yellow stickers for placement underneath infant and children's car seats. The stickers have room for the child's name, parent or guardian, and a relative not living with the child. The stickers have room for the name of the child's physician and any medical or special needs.

The stickers, being distributed at area day care centers, will become available for public distribution this month, says Bob Jennings, a Kiwanis member and champion of the program that is copied from a one in Utah.

"This has been going on almost two months," Jennings said. "I've given out 10,000 and ordered another 10,000 stickers. This thing is really snowballing."

Linda Wilson, director of Epiphany Day Care Center, where Jonathon was a student, sent a letter last week to all day care directors in central Baltimore County describing the stickers and their bittersweet meaning to Epiphany.

"If this could at any time prevent relatives' or parents' anguish in getting to their child, it would be a good thing," Wilson told Intrepid last week. "This is so simple, why didn't we think of this before?"

Wilson said she has received requests for 1,500 stickers. Jennings, 73, a retired auto sales manager, said his phone is ringing nearly nonstop for the badges.

Toot-toots of the horn for this good deed that seems to be spreading like a prairie fire in the world of child safety.

Shortcuts

Santas can bring unwrapped toys to the tollbooths at the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels and the Francis Scott Key Bridge from Wednesday through Friday during the morning and afternoon rush hours for the seventh annual Maryland Transportation Authority police Toys for Tots collection.

Pub Date: 12/09/96

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