[OPINION] Westport Motorists Drive Me Crazy!

Alert “06880” reader and frustrated driver Greg Rayner writes:

This marks 20 years of living in Westport. I am a native Californian. I love just about everything here: the beaches, landscapes, culture, dining, library, the people.

But there is one thing we as a community need to work on: traffic etiquette.

On any given day, especially in summer, traffic conditions can be quite grizzly.

Greg Rayner

Many new businesses and several housing facilities have popped up on the Post Road recently, adding to the traffic.

Of course, the conduct of many drivers around town contributes to the problem. and subtracts from the many pluses of living here.

The way we respond to each other in our daily routines very much impacts the overall quality of life in Westport.

Here, in no particular order, are some of my biggest traffic beefs.

“I don’t have time for the blinker”: How many times do I see people not taking the 3 seconds to turn on their blinker, making others slam on brakes or keeping someone from turning because it is not clear if the other person is going straight or not?

“I’m going left so I’m going to drive across 4 lanes of traffic, no matter the delays it causes”: I’ve said it often: You can save time by just flipping around and not inconvenience 20 people as you meander through 4 lanes at rush hour.

“I’m going to stick my car so far out into the lane of traffic that others have to swerve into the other lane”: When someone sticks their car out into the lane of the road, I am much less likely to accommodate them than someone who has the blinker on.

“I’m going to dash across even though others have to slam on their brakes”: Driving is stressful enough without having to slam on the brakes to avoid a collision with someone who could have waited another 30 seconds.

“Hell no, I won’t let you merge because the lane is blocked”: We all see it – road work, a delivery truck, you want to change lanes, you have your blinker on but so few will let you change lanes.

Sure, traffic is blocked ahead. But no way I’m letting you in! (Photo/Chip Stephens)

“Intentional blocking of entrances and intersections”: This can happen accidentally if you misread the flow of traffic, but if I had a dollar for every time I can’t get into the Trader Joe’s parking lot because someone is blocking the entrance and doesn’t care, I’d have a chauffeur driving me around.

“Pedestrians come last rule”: The Post Road can be a death trap. My friend Sharon was killed on the Post Road in 2010. The other day I saw a man in a wheelchair waiting 15 minutes to cross the Post Road. No one seemed to care.

This list is not exhaustive. But I often think about the wonderful community we have. If we’d all make just more of an effort to show some traffic etiquette and be considerate of other drivers, it would certainly make our lovely town even more appealing and less stressful.

59 responses to “[OPINION] Westport Motorists Drive Me Crazy!

  1. I might add the speeding in parking lots! Nearly clipped the other day at the YMCA. Backing up from a space, surrounded by gigantic SUVs, I couldn’t see her, so could you please slow down when someone is backing up?

  2. Sadly, there are so many things which could be added to the list. For example, Westport drivers’ invincibility when driving SUV’s at high rates of speed through flooded roads and standing water – sending waves cascading onto my lawn with every major rainstorm. Or racing through neighborhoods en route to the train, passing driveways at 40mph. The “me first” attitude is pervasive and we are losing the sense of community.

  3. Rozanne Gates

    Some things just never change – aggressive people driving aggressively. 90 pound suburban housewives still driving those HUGE trucks called SUV’s and isn’t it against the law in Connecticut to use your directional signals?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/90_Pound_Suburban_Housewife

  4. Richard Fogel

    slow down, breath

  5. Mr. Rayner, compared to the number of drivers who are considerate, courteous, careful and law abiding, the number of transgressors is MINUSCULE. Why not be happy about that and stop bitching about the relatively tiny number of careless, bad or thoughtless drivers.

    • Please tell me you’re kidding, Dan.

      • I am not kidding, Dan….tens of thousands of drivers in Westport, hundreds of thousands on other roads and the number who fall into the category bitched about by Mr. Rayner is not even worth mentioning. We should be applauding the fact that SO FEW bad drivers are out there when the total numbers are considered….same, by the way, Dan, for the shitty parking jobs highlighted herein.

        • Dan, I always admire your refreshingly unvarnished comments. Perhaps you’re right. The evidence I see most every day, however, suggests otherwise.

          For instance, say you are first at the light trying to leave Trader Joe’s and you intend to take a left and head west on the Post Road. For the sake of argument, assume that there are no drivers lined up opposite you waiting to exit CVS. Your light turns green. What do you do? Well, if you want to live, you DO NOT proceed into the intersection without first allowing for the eastbound Post Road vehicles which normally run the light to come roaring through first. Ditto for certain other intersections in town.

          So to your point that perhaps we have not descended into a Mad Max type of situation, I would cede it but suggest the countervailing observation that the stakes in some instances are really high – and that certain drivers seem to take their cue from others. While you are no doubt correct that the vast majority of drivers are kind, courteous and law abiding, and always will be, it seems reasonably evident that there is something which looks like a troubling trend developing.

          I hope you’re right in your sunny assessment. But I can’t afford to overlook the fact that traffic signals are now considered serving suggestions to what appears to be a growing number of drivers.

          • Morley, were you to actually count the number of times that all that bad left turn stuff happened, as opposed to the number of time it does NOT happen, the numbers, I think, would show, dramatically, that all is better in driver land than you posit.

            • The comments seem not to bear you out, Dan.

              • you need facts.. Your,operating on impression. Facts Facts Facts

              • True enough, Dan, but that does not make the comments any less true……folks don’t mention all the dogs that don’t bite; nonetheless, that is surely MOST dogs.

                • Of course, Dan. But I’m not sure how many people would read a blog or newspaper that ran stories like, “Here are all the people who did not die today”; “Board of Ed did not meet this evening”; “Man parked well at CVS.”

            • That’s certainly fair, Dan. And it’s kind of amazing as well that there aren’t more injuries or fatalities. I feel as if, twenty years ago, the daily running of lights, the suspicious one car accidents (texting), the abuse of turning lanes as well as all the other, regularly occurring, anti-social stuff which observant 06880 readers have quickly documented here was just not on our collective radar. That notwithstanding, thanks as always for sharing your perspective. I value it.

  6. Lynda Shannon Bluestein

    Yes, yes, yes. Right at the top, where it belongs, is failure to use the turn signal. The Car Talk Guys often said it was the most important and least used safety feature on every car and truck. Also from California – a bit longer than you, but I still miss the courtesy. On LA freeways we all just wanted to get where we were going without colliding with one another. Made for a safer ride.

  7. Last weekend I was stopped in eastbound Post Road traffic just before the light at Playhouse Square. My light was green but, as is often the case, the traffic on the other side of the light was quite visibly backed up all the way to the NEXT light at Compo South. So I did what the law says you must do; I stopped at the green light at Playhouse Square so as not to risk blocking the intersection should the light turn. This was evidently too much for the young driver in a Volvo behind me. So she drove her car up onto the Post Road sidewalk and passed me on the right. And blocked the intersection. Another driver then proceeded to do the same thing. The light turned red and and you can guess the rest. I see casual lawlessness, brazen recklessness and low level cruelty every day on our roads, but this actually surprised me. A heartfelt amen to everything Mr. Rayner took the time to outline. I don’t know how you address a culture which largely seems not to care anymore, but it’s nice to see that someone else has noticed.

  8. My wife and I were in SoCal for most of the past year and a half. I can’t say I noticed any difference in driver etiquette.

    I will say that the area we were living in out there had much better surface street traffic flow because it was built in the 1960s and 1970s–with typically three lanes in each direction and two additional lanes dedicated to left-hand turns at major intersections. That was truly road heaven.

    But there were still drivers with texting issues among others. And one time I was astounded by a driver with a large Trump bumper sticker who passed me on the right and went flying by at a high speed because I apparently had the audacity to obey the 25mph speed limit in a school zone. (I only bring up the Trump bumper sticker because I am trying to head off a potential comment from a former Westporter who posts frequently on “06880” and likes to blame bad behavior on “rich,” “entitled,” “arrogant liberals.” Bad behavior in my opinion can be found across the spectrum.)

  9. Mary Cookman Schmerker

    I’ve lived too far away from Westport for far too long to comment. However, every one of Mr. Rayner’s comments on traffic etiquette is an issue we see here in the Houston metropolitan area. It is a culture of entitlement and lack of courtesy that seems to exist everywhere. We hear reports of road rage frequently. Is there a cure?

  10. I meant to add that traffic often gets backed up at rush hour–and occasionally other parts of the day–where we are living now in Westport. I have found the vast majority of drivers very courteous in letting us turn in or out of our driveway.

  11. I agree traffic patterns, congestion and aggressiveness has increased in the last 20 years especially the last 5 to 10 years. It’s like a switch was flipped…literally.
    It wasn’t like this in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. There was a select few and you kept our distance. Now it’s almost every vehicle. It’s ridiculous.
    Riverside Ave and Bridge St area please stop blocking the fire station (Saugatuck Engine 4). I’m not leaving an opening for you to fill that space. That is to give the fire engine a clear path out or in if they’re coming back in from a call. Apparently you were never taught to keep emergency vehicles driveways clear or you don’t care. I’m waiting for the day when the fire engine will have to shove a vehicle(s) out of way to respond to an emergency call.
    Also on Riverside and Bridge St, when the traffic agent gives 2 turning cars to go ahead to turn into Bridge St this is NOT a go for those coming out of Rizzuto’s the right to barrel through the intersection and nearly ram both of us. The only reason we didn’t have a crash is because the traffic agent yelled out “Look out!”. To the white Infiniti Q60 awd (AM-529**) that barreled through through the intersection and then took a left turn down Imperial Ave. Please be aware of your surroundings, fellow drivers and obey the traffic agents commands.
    Mr Raynor’s list can be added to and Mr Boyd’s experience was an eye opener.

    • I agree about that Fire station driveway. I regularly stop so as to not block the way. Invariably someone pulls in front of me, because I have left a gap. Thus, the driveway gets blocked.
      Different story. I was making a left from the westbound lane on the Post Rd. onto Turkey Hill South. I had pulled out awaiting the east bound traffic to pass, so i could safely make my turn (directional on by the way). An insane driver behind me grew impatient awaiting his turn to go left. His insane decision? Pull out to my left, into the eastbound lane and cut across oncoming traffic. He was driving a reddish SUV and turned onto Hillandale thence onto Hillandale Circle. A complete idiot!!

  12. Wanda Tedesco

    I have lived in Westport all of my life and have witnessed the rude driver situation getting worse by the day. Thank you for putting my thoughts onto paper. Drivers turning right on red with a “No Right Turn” sign was ramped this past week.

  13. A few weeks ago I was diving in the ‘slow’ lane on the Post ]Road when a driver in a huge SUV t-boned me . He told the police that he didn’t see me because there was another car next to me. WHAT? My car is a bright red SUV, He was just obviously a)not paying attention, b) In a hurry to get past a lght, c) on his cell , d) he had a child in the back seat of this car, and was distracted in some way? WHATEVER, his entitled driving caused pain, suffering and weeks of my not able to workI I sometimes wish we could issue reports to the police giving these crazies’ license plates. Hey kids, we can expect more of this as more apartments are built in Westport and more drivers are on the road. .

  14. I think the proper use of “Turn Signals” is the most dangerous grievance on Mr. Raynor’s list. There is one spot in town that is particularly dangerous because of the lack of signaling. As you go south on Weston Road and you are approaching the Merritt Parkway and desire to turn slightly onto Main Street – PLEASE SIGNAL to the right. Oncoming cars from Main Street, trying to turn onto Weston Road must cross a lane of oncoming traffic. If you do not signal the drivers are not sure if you are continuing on Weston Road on turning onto Main Street, so they must wait. Not only is this dangerous, but also during rush hour causes the traffic to back up all the way down Main Street to the traffic light on Compo Road North.

  15. My biggest complaint is when oncoming traffic is driving over the center lane and coming at you into your lane. I know our beautiful roads do curve , but stay in your Lane please. Better yet , put down your phone and pay attention.

  16. Charles Taylor

    A great statement on current traffic. I’m glad I lived in Westport in the late 50’s to mid 60’s

  17. So many people read you so early, Dan! Part of the problem, of course, is many more cars on the road. For that, Boomers, we have only ourselves to blame. How many cars did your family have growing up? One. How many do you have now? In addition, I think the most dangerous major problem is having no driving laws in strip mall parking lots. Who has right-of-way? The person backing out blindly from a nose-in parking space or the person driving behind them perpendicularly trying to get out? I wish the State of CT would address that.

  18. Werner Liepolt

    Texting drivers provide themselves and us with the most adrenaline-pumping and harrowing roadway experiences of our live, for sure.

    On the matter of courtesy, however, I have usually been able to merge without incident in the long lines of Westport neighbors and visitors detouring into my neighborhood from I-95.

    Speaking of which… driving someone to or from a NYC airport has now become a full day’s job.

  19. Louise W Demakis

    I guess I should have made my comment today instead of yesterday. The scofflaws driving the turning lane on the Post Road to cross Riverside are the worse offenders. Dangerous and Dreadful!

    • This is the worst offense I see. On Fridays in rush hour while most of us wait in the right lane for 10 minutes to go over the bridge, the people who zip by in the left turning lane with no intention of turning. They attempt to cut in front of those who are patiently waiting and often will not take no for an answer. Everyone honking at everyone.

  20. I was behind a guy the other day who was driving slowly and would then speed up and slow again. As I pulled closer during one of his “slow” modes, I could see his eyes in the rearview mirror, and they were cast down: He was looking at his cell phone, of course. So I had a little fun tooting my horn every time he checked his texts or whatever. He really seemed surprised, like I was psychic or something. 🙂

    My personal fave is people waiting to pull out who look and look and wait and wait and then, when an oncoming car or truck is maybe 50 feet away, accelerate slowly into traffic. Not that I don’t appreciate the people who ride my ass to get me to speed up. I’ve given up and now just find a safe place to pull over and let them speed on their merry way.

    Honestly, it’s amazing there aren’t more accidents.

  21. Dan W. – you could turn this subject into its own blog listing all the poor driving & parking. That said here are my comments; 1) Everyone had to pass a driving test and exam…they forgot what they learned, maybe it should be required at every renewal. 2) “Courtesy is Contagious” was once a TV campaign…maybe they could stop on a regular basis to recollect what their mothers once taught them 3) Civility requires respecting our neighbours….maybe they should bring back teaching Civics in schools again…as a subject!. Lastly, I can’t pass up the opportunity to mention some of my favourites(I’ll try not to repeat the ones mentioned by others already); waiting at the stop-line to make a left turn. The rule is to signal your intention while Advancing to the center of the intersection. (I checked this with the police to make sure they didn’t change the rule) MOST people wait at the corner preventing all those behind them from getting through the intersection. that amounts to ONE car at a time per green light….any wonder why we have long lines at lights? We have lots of 4 way stop signs….If there is any question who should go you defer to the car on your right.thats the rule no one seems to remember. There are people who think they are brilliant at saving time by example to pass through the Coffe ‘AN parkin lot instead of waiting for the light to change..brilliant till it’s not it’s also illegal. Another good example is those who block traffic at intersections by NOT waiting to make sure they can get through it…and give you a look like I couldn’t help it. Yes you can !! Don’t go into an intersection till there is space for you to cross to the other side, that’s the rule. For those really just trying to understand driving there is a book called TRAFFIC that will give you insights and maybe some good advice on how to cope with people who drive like no one else matters. That’s the real problem.

  22. I often time want to call the police dept and mention if they put a car at the intersection of Morningside S and North on the Post Road they would have a field day. There is never a day I am sitting at that light that someone doesn’t full on run a red light. I hold my breath. One day I was there when my lovely elderly neighbor got creamed in that intersection. His car literally spun around. He was sent to the hospital but thankfully was ok. Having a dad for a police officer he always told me when the light turns green look both ways before u go and where there is a ball in the street a child will be close behind. And be kind to elderly folks and new drivers as well. I passed that down to my children but not sure how many people know about that wise advice. It’s common sense but if ur all driving 20 miles over the speed limit u will never stop in time. Having lived here for 45 years I have witnessed many acts of graciousness with driving but it’s unfortunate lately to see people blatantly driving through red lights, giving someone the finger or yelling obscenities out of their windows. Men and women alike. I have found that if I am in the wrong I always hold up my hands and mouth I’m sorry which usually brings the other persons temp down a bit. My advice to everyone who operates a vehicle is to to slow down and if ur having a bad day don’t take it out while ur being the wheel. It’s better to be late than never arrive. Here’s hoping ….

    • Hi Anna,
      As you know, that elderly neighbor was my dad…Ed Stalling Sr. and he received a severe concussion from that accident…and it seemed to me that his memory started to fade from that moment on.
      What you may not know is that the driver of the car that ran the red light was an illegal immigrant without a license or insurance…
      As a side note to others, my Dad was Grand Marshall of the Parade in 1995 and there is a memorial plaque for my dad at the Ned Dimes Marina by the flag pole….put there by the town.
      Hope you and Dan are well,
      Bob

      • Hi Bob. Yes knew it was ur dad but didn’t want to mention his name. As we live just up off Morningside N that Intersection is almost impossible not to use. And when Kenzie and Mac got their licenses it always gave me agita to know they might take that route. Ur dad was a pillar of a man in every way. We miss u all and hope u are doing well. Anna and Dan.

        Sent from my iPhone

        >

  23. Rhonda Williams

    I agree on all counts – and add to the list all the people running red lights which has really gotten out of hand.

  24. Arline Gertzoff

    My favorite has been missed so I must comment The fourway At Wilton Rd and Kings Highway.I am in the correct lane to go across to Kings Highway and an idiot who forgot to get in the left hand lane to turn down Wilton Rd cuts in front or yes behind me Both have happened. Fabulous

    • John Beckwith

      I’ve lived in Westport for 3 years and have lived in many other places. This sort of dangerous cutting around and executing a turn from the wrong lane is the one form of bad driving I have not experienced elsewhere. It has happened to me about 10 times. That said, I think a lot of the problems we experience have to do with poorly designed intersections (near Trader Joe’s), often with signals that cannot be be seen when in the intersection (I’m thinking a left from Post Rd East to Roseville). I believe this may be, in part, because the state has control of some of these roads and/or the town cannot gain concensus on whether to work with the state (ex: Cribari Bridge). The stop anr go imparted by these issues often leads to blocked outlets and intersections as one thinks traffic is flowing and gets stuck there – I have certainly been guilty of accidentally blocking the entrance to McDonald’s. Sadly, though, bad traffic etiquette is not unique to Westport.

      One interesting thing I’ve experienced is drivers trying to be super polite and proactively giving up the right of way to allow a left turn. I’ve experienced this a lot on North Ave during the school rush hour. It took a while to get used to it and sometimes accepting this courtesy is a bit dangerous as opposite direction traffic is blocked. But it’s a nice example of collectively establishing etiquette that helps make it work for everyone. I’ve never experienced anything like this.

      • I respectfully disagree about your “super polite” left turns. When a driver decides the rules of the road it amounts to taking the law into your own hands. I’ve encountered well-meaning but dangerous situations when someone yields to allow a left turn only for the car behind them to drive around and people get hurt. Sticking to the rules of the road keeps us safe.
        even good intentions are just wrong. Did you know most accidents and pedestrian deaths occur during left turns?

        • Thank you for this comment Mark. I totally agree with you. The rules of the road should be followed. Not everyone is going to let you make that left hand turn, so you can’t count on it, and you shouldn’t count on it. The person driving behind that person is a perfect example. It is one of my biggest pet peeves while driving. If you see me in my Gray Volvo, don’t count on me letting you take that left. I’m not trying to be rude at all, it’s just the wrong thing to do. Ain’t gonna happen.
          I will add one other thing. The issues that bothers me the most – and barley a day goes by when I don’t experience this – is when the person in front of you just decides to slow down well below the speed limit. Normally they are looking for an address or checking their phone. They have zero concern for the person behind them. They should just pull off. I am not talking about a quick slow down, but coming to almost a complete stop for a long time while there are people behind them. Sorry but now that I’ve pointed it out, you will notice it a lot more. It’s an epidemic.

  25. I agree with virtually all of the comments here about Westport drivers. That being said, I have often wondered how we compare to drivers in surrounding towns like Wilton, New Canaan, Darien, Fairfield etc. I have to believe it’s not isolated to Westport.

  26. Drivers in Wilton seem far more gracious. It’s more rural and there’s less traffic. People take turns appropriately at 4-way intersections, and often wave the other driver through before hitting the gas themselves. It’s a real a relief after the stress of driving in Westport. Yet I often find those same courtesies exhibited in Westport, as well, when people are less hurried or there’s less traffic.

  27. Christine Barth

    Judging from the volume of comments agreeing with–and adding to–Mr. Rayner’s examples, the problem is not minuscule. I can add one more that has happened to me three times in the last six months or so: drivers who apparently think the left-turn cycle at a major intersection allows them to go straight through. At the Post Road/Compo Road intersection, as the first car turning left to go north on Compo, I have been met by a westbound car on the Post Road coming straight through. One of those drivers at least stopped and looked startled. The other two kept going with a wave!

  28. Cristina Negrin

    I totally agree adding that Memorial Day through Labor Day is much worse !

  29. Celeste Champagne

    Mr. Rayner’s commentary is so right on. And clearly many others agree as well. Thanks for posting so we can vicariously vent our frustrations along with him. The complaints are universal, but Westport is among the many places locally where people think they have special license to do as they want.

  30. The no blinker signal is the worst!!!! Agree!

  31. Sylvia Robinson Corrigan

    I think it’s so important that we are addressing this subject! Time of day is a part of the picture, as well as day of the week, or whether it is a holiday. When I am turning left off Westport Road (Route 33) onto Newtown Turnpike during rush hour, it is practically impossible, and one depends on courtesy to make the turn, – or just doing it when the light is about to turn red. There needs to be a turn signal there. During other times in the day, it isn’t so bad. Early in the day, there are long lines of cars on Weston Road and Canal Street, waiting to get on Route 33 to get to the Merritt Parkway. The waits are incredible, most any time of the year.
    This may sound weird, but I think that driving cars becomes a problem for human beings and the very nature of applying courtesy. It wasn’t so bad when there were fewer cars on the road – which I can remember in this town. It used to be a pleasure to drive. I increasingly try to find times when there is less traffic on the road – when I can! I feel badly for soccer moms and others who have to get their kids to practices across town during rush hour. The waits can be bad, and the kids sometimes take the heat for being late.

  32. Peter Gold, Chair, RTM Transit Committee

    Complaining is all well and good and giving your favorite examples of bad behavior may be cathartic, but what would really help is suggestions on how to actually solve the problem. Anyone have any?

    • Andrew Sommers

      Left turn lane from PRE to Roseville, painted “do not block the box” on road at trader joe’s And playhouse square and Parker Harding/PRE, smarter light sequencing to manage heavy traffic flows, police who actually enforce these rules. Peter, it would seem it is your job to come up with these ideas – if not then why are you in that role?

    • suggestions you ask? : The Transit committee could start an email blog that is emailed to Westporters on a regular basis encouraging thoughtful reminders to people on a regular basis with; “rules of the road”, soliciting ideas, news of road improvements & construction work, a discussion board for problems, etc. The “modern” approach to problems is crowdsourcing. If you gave Westporters an ongoing dedicated online forum you give the townspeople a voice and give yourselves a way to asses and prioritize old and new problems. Yes, it would take some work to set up and monitoring but it would make the Transit Committee a “living” tool for the town. Ask Dan Woog to show you how to make it useful and valuable. He has proven the concept. The only ways I hear about things is from “06880” or when our rep J.Steinberg alerts me though broadcast emails, How about the Transit committee? If you are already doing, I’m not getting the emails, please add me to the list. Thank You

      • Jay Walshon MD FACEP

        Mark
        Your suggestion regarding the creation of a more effective electronic means to inform residents AND provide a forum for resident comments, ideas, suggestions and opinions is a great one whose time has come. I have suggested to Town leadership that this needs to be created in order to better inform residents and provide a convenient two way dialogue with all significant commissions and boards – video broadcast of meetings IS NOT dialogue and people are most often unable to attend meetings even if they knew about them.

        The Transit district would be just one subset of this broader communication tool.

        This suggestion has fallen on deaf ears – I leave it up to you to decide why.

        Although 06880 is a wonderful asset, and I am thankful to Dan for providing this blog to Town residents, it is embarrassing that this is the primary means that residents get informed and communicate about important & timely Westport issues – and it’s not very effective in effecting change and allowing our RESIDENTS/TAXPAYERS to decide important issues.

  33. Enforce the law.
    Without enforcement there is no compliance.
    And to get enforcement the legislature must ensure that at least *some* of a fine is returned to the municipality in which it is written.

  34. One of my biggest peeves are people who don’t want to wait in the proper lane and then cut you off.

  35. Horrible, entitled drivers in town.
    I’ve twice stopped for someone crossing the downtown (non-light) crosswalk (once a mother with two kids, the other a mother with a baby carriage) only to have someone in an SUV blast right through the crosswalk in the other lane.
    It is as if my stopping at the crosswalk creates the danger for the pedestrian who might think it was safe to cross despite the selfish idiots all around them.
    I did catch up with one of these drivers and, when she rolled down her window, dropped a stream of f-bombs. What shocked me was that she had a child of about ten in her car. What if she had been trying to cross with her kid?
    Unfortunately, the clueless parents raise even worse than the typical teenage drivers. Once driving on Post Road East, I caught in the corner of my eye, a car from the north turning left onto Post. Since I was in the right lane, I was fine, until it was clear the teenager was headed to my lane instead of putting it into the left. I swerved off of the road but then had to swerve back on again, behind this twit, before I could hit a telephone pole. WTF people?

  36. This article obviously struck a nerve here in 06880-land! It’s not hard to see why.

    I’ve lived in Westport for over thirty years and have definitely seen driving conditions deteriorate, as evidenced by all the behaviors Mr. Rayner and others have mentioned, which didn’t used to be quite so bad. The root of the problem obviously lies with too many cars on roads that were designed for limited traffic and sometimes for horses. It’s a pretty common issue in many communities, and the difficulties become self-reinforcing when driver frustration triggers rude and dangerous behavior that in turn triggers more frustration and sometimes road rage.

    One contributing factor that I’m not sure anyone has mentioned yet is that Waze and other real-time navigational programs are routing drivers off crowded highways and onto what many of us still like to think of as our beloved country roads. They cease being beloved pretty quickly in a traffic jam! Some communities are trying to deal with this particular issue by blocking highway egress for non-residents but I think that’s proving impractical for obvious reasons.

    I don’t see any systemic solution to this problem. Road configuration projects can sometimes help, but they also can create problems worse than the ones they address. So, while it’s good to put suggestions in front of responsible officials, we need to be careful about badgering them into undertaking counterproductive work.

    I try to do my small part by staying calm, obeying the rules and resisting the temptation to get steamed up. I also try to stay off the road when traffic is bad, although people trying to ferry kids around or get to and from work obviously don’t have that luxury. It helps to be retired and have all kids out of the house.

  37. Jennifer Rankine

    Was at the corner of Cross Hwy and North Avenue yesterday when a woman (not a teenager) in a jeep flew through at 40 mph on North Avenue — never even tapped the brakes. Who drives through a 4-way intersection without thinking there might be a need to yield? Insane. Fortunately I was stopped debating whether to turn left for one more errand or go home. I’m sure that pause, along with noticing her rate of speed as she approached, saved my life and likely hers too.

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