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Editorial - Comments about bad drivers worth weighing

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Is Alexandria one of the worst places around for bad driving?

The newspaper posed that question in Friday's Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down and received a lot of feedback online and through e-mails.

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Many of the comments are worth sharing - and pondering. While nobody likes to admit that their driving isn't the best, it's always good for drivers to assess their skills and see what they could improve. Here are some of the points to consider:

I do perceive drivers in Alex as being in a class of their own. I think it is due to a combination of factors: A large number of older drivers who may have deteriorating skills, tourists/summer visitors who don't know where they are going, parallel parking on Broadway, the main thoroughfare in town, stop lights that do not allow for the smooth flow of traffic, and four-way-stops and merging areas that some drivers look at as a scrambled Rubik's cube. --Kerry H.

Yep, there are some crazy drivers of all ages. Everyone is in too big of a rush or too busy chatting on their cells. Summer is even worse with visitors from out of town. I agree with the lady that a new story each week might just wake people up to their driving habits. It certainly can't hurt! -- L.B.

I am in Alexandria once a month. I would have to say, I use my defensive driving skills the most in your town. -- Donna P (of Fargo)

Considering Alex's population in comparison, the driving habits/skills of many in Alex is lacking. The merging lanes on 3rd Avenue are an ongoing problem, some people just don't seem to "get it." Common courtesy amongst drivers here seem to be lacking as well. -- So J.

I have lived in the Alexandria area my whole life and I don't get it. The general population drives from here to there with no problem. What I have seen in this area is the young and the old mucking things up. I don't think it's a coincidence when you read/hear of accidents involving either newbie drivers or senior citizens. -- Shawn K.

I've seen drivers of ALL ages mucking things up. I've even seen semis blow through the red lights on Broadway. They replaced the "yield" sign with a stop sign on the corner where I live. Now the accidents are down from two a week to one. (Yeah, that was sarcasm.) -- larry l

How about people that pass on the right when there is a car making a left hand turn? This is illegal unless there is a bypass lane. People often use the right turn lane to go around someone who is turning. The biggest problem area I've seen for this is by North McDonald's...There is nothing scarier than waiting to turn and watching traffic approach in your rearview mirror that does not even slow down as they veer around you on the right. I have even had semis do this. -- Denise L

After driving for 35 years without wearing a seat belt, I have the Alex drivers to thank for getting me to buckle up. It took all of one day driving in Alexandria to convince me a lot of people got their license from the "kamikaze school of driving." I'm thinking that whoever laid out the "streets" on the south side sure didn't do anyone any favors, either. Couple that tangled up mess with elderly drivers and Mario Andretti wannabes... -- bob c

I do not drive tired. I cannot afford to have my defenses impaired. I am in the category of over-cautious, "elderly." Many times being the slower driver has saved me from an accident. I shudder to believe that I trigger unsafe or aggressive behavior in other drivers. Often, I will just let the person on a phone or with loud music go first for my own safety. I think they do not know the difference. I publicly apologize to the drivers behind me. -- anonymous e-mailer

The Echo Press should have a driving tip of the day section. It could be like a PSA to remind readers what the laws of the road are. For example, you could explain what right of way means or perhaps what the proper following distance is under varying conditions. Who knows - it might save a life. -- anonymous e-mailer.

We thank all those who contributed their thoughts and we'll give the suggestion of regularly printing driving tips some serious consideration. In the meantime - be careful out there.

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