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.
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.
“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.