On the Right Lane: The fast and the delirious

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“It is said that if you line up all the cars in the world … end to end, someone would be stupid enough to try and pass all of them.”
Unknown

There was no Windham Town Council meeting Tuesday because it was New Year’s Day, so I will delve once again into experiences while driving around Windham. I won’t blame all of this on drivers from Windham because this town has a lot of traffic coming and going from other municipalities. Imagine all the money Windham could collect if it could make Routes 302 and 202 along with River and Falmouth Roads toll roads like the Maine Turnpike. It’s not like I would like to see that happen, because the promise probably would be how it could reduce property taxes and most of us already know that will never happen.

It’s now officially winter, which means that I’ve shut off my police scanner, at least for the most part. If either my wife or I have to go someplace when the weather is iffy, I turn the scanner on just to make sure there hasn’t been some kind of accident on the roads we have to travel. Thankfully, someone invented fire and police scanners and experience is a great teacher. Working all over the state of Vermont after graduating from high school taught me not only how to drive in bad weather, especially winter, but how to prepare as well. The roads weren’t so heavily treated with chemicals in those days.

So back to driving and what drives me bonkers. The most common driving infractions I have witnessed the past several months are drivers running red lights. I don’t mean a vehicle is 10 or so feet from a traffic light that suddenly turns yellow and it continues through the intersection. I am talking about the light being already red and three or four drivers blow right through it. The two places I have seen that the most is the intersection of River Road and Route 202 and the intersection of Route 302 and River Road. Why those intersections don’t have more accidents is beyond me. I have learned to be cautious after a school bus almost t-boned me at River and 202. It happened so fast and scared me so deeply I could not recollect where the school bus was from, but it was coming from the direction of Westbrook.

Perhaps the worst driving infraction I have witnessed was also at that same intersection. I had traveled to the South Windham post office and was returning home, towards Windham High School. I stopped at that intersection waiting for my light to turn green, which would happen once cars coming from the opposite direction wanting to turn left to Westbrook got their own red light. My light turned green, but a red SUV came flying towards me without a clue their light had already turned red and my light was green. In that red SUV was at least one young person and I suspect two. What a great parent that person is. I really do wish that wasn’t a normal thing to witness, but it seems to be happening more and more.

I was traveling on a Windham road with a 50-mph speed limit and in front of me was a car tailgating a pickup towing a rather large trailer. When I say tailgating, I mean 3 or so feet from the back of the trailer. There wasn’t a doubt that if that pickup slammed on the brakes there was no way that car could have stopped in time. What I find even more amazing is when I watched a Maine news story Christmas Eve, the camera panned to a road where cars were traveling a few feet apart.

Lane Hiltunen of Windham wonders if insanity in politics transfers to driving as well.