Danger on the Bay Bridge: Let tailgaters pass


August 14, 2005|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Finally, a safe response to what can be a horribly dangerous situation.

"There is nothing more stupid nor dangerous than tailgating on the Big Bay Bridge!" wrote Pete Nelsen, a resident of Kent Island. He noted that if an accident occurs, or if a driver needs to swerve while driving the spans, there's no shoulder.

He recommends one of two safe options: "Swallow pride, bury ego, whatever you have to do and MOVE OVER. ... Let `Stupid One' pass"

But what if traffic is too heavy for you to move over? Then, he suggested, turn on your emergency flashers.

"I've done this for years and it works every time: for Christy in her Cabrio, for Buck in his Big Wheel Oversized Tonka Toy Pickup Truck, for Eugene in his 18-wheeler. [It works] because they're baffled, unsure of what you're going to do - which, of course, is nothing but to keep going, but they instinctively back off."

Bruce Whitney is one of many who responded to the aggressive driver quiz, in which I asked a number of questions, including whether you get angry when other drivers do stupid things and whether you mutter obscenities under your breath (or say them out loud).

"Everyone would have to answer `Yes' to that, unless you're lobotomized or heavily sedated. And who doesn't [mutter obscenities]? That in and of itself doesn't make for an aggressive driver," Whitney said. "It's only if you allow your anger/irritation to dictate your driving actions that you should worry."

But some survey results indicate that even these minor acts can escalate to serious road rage.

Response Insurance Group of Companies sponsors a driving habits survey, which, according to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mory Katz, is a scientifically valid survey of drivers from around the United States.

According to Katz, the survey supports my hypothesis - that more of us are aggressive drivers than we'd like to believe.

"Our survey revealed that 37 percent of American drivers experienced road rage and that an equal number had committed an act within the prior six months," Katz said.

He said men are more likely to engage in road rage than women (44 percent to 30 percent) and that the highest incidence is among younger drivers.

In the 18-34 age group, 50 percent had engaged in road rage. "Interestingly, drivers with children are more apt to engage in road rage than those without," he said, 44 percent to 33 percent.

And it turns out that the quiz question about muttering obscenities is more relevant than many readers believed.

"Even minor acts of verbal aggression can escalate into something more serious," Katz said. "Drivers need to take a deep breath and calm down before things get out of control. These survey results should be a wake-up call to all drivers."

Route 2 lane closings

Look for nighttime lane closings on Route 2 in both directions between Forest Drive and West Street near Annapolis through the end of August for paving, utility work and construction.

Elsewhere, be alert to lane closings on Burns Crossing Road just north of the intersection with New Cut Road for culvert replacement through mid-September.

In addition, daytime lane closings are possible on Riva Road between South River and Perch Drive through the end of September.

Also be alert for road construction on West Edgevale Road between Route 170 (Belle Grove Road) and Old Riverside Road.

What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at TrafficTalk@comcast.net, send faxes to 410-715-2816 or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Anne Arundel County, 60 West Street, Suite 400, Annapolis 21401. Please include your full name and contact information or your comments will not be published or receive a response.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.