Frus­trated mo­torist writes: Why don’t we all smarten up…?

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear edi­tor,

Well, fi­nally, an ar­ti­cle about the prob­lems on Vet­er­ans Me­mo­rial High­way (Half-ar­sed high­way, Sept. 21). Thank you, Lynn Strong and Terry Roberts.

I am one of that great ma­jor­ity of mo­torists who are usu­ally frus­trated when driv­ing on this high­way. This frus­tra­tion arises from two main causes: No. 1, the de­sign of the high­way, and No. 2, and most im­por­tantly, the bad habits of so many driv­ers.

S/ Sgt. Rick Robin­son of the RCMP is ab­so­lutely cor­rect when he says the high­way is in good con­di­tion.

One no­table ex­cep­tion is the sec­tion from the Har­bour Grace/Bris­tol’s Hope ac­cess road up the hill past CHVO.

The north­bound lane in this area was resur­faced not long ago and even though this pave­ment is rel­a­tively new it has since de­vel­oped very deep ruts.

For what­ever rea­son, it is clear for all to see that the re­pair was not up to ad­e­quate stan­dards.

As for the sit­u­a­tion at the North River in­ter­change, the Mr. Tom Hed­der­son (Trans­porta­tion min­is­ter) wisely con­cedes that putting in an in­ter­change with­out a suf­fi­cient num­ber of ac­cess ramps was “an af­ter­thought.”

The ab­sence of desperately-needed pass­ing lanes is an­other glar­ing short­com­ing.

The over­all de­sign of the high­way may well be ad­e­quate, ac­cord­ing to the stan­dards of the Trans­port As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada, but I sus­pect it only barely meets those guide­lines.

Cer­tainly, it is bet­ter than what was avail­able pre­vi­ously, but far from ideal.

How­ever, what re­ally makes this road not only frus­trat­ing to drive, but quite dan­ger­ous, is the bad driv­ing habits of so many mo­torists.

How many driv­ers know what to do when the sign says MERGE?

At the Har­bour Grace ac­cess near CHVO, too many peo­ple com­ing up to the MERGE sign ac­tu­ally stop!

They wait for the traf­fic to go by in­stead of get­ting up to high­way speed and merg­ing with the flow as they should.

Com­ing to a stop here is a dan­ger­ous prac­tice, as the mo­torists on the high­way do not know how to re­act.

Should they slow down to let you in, speed up, or maybe just ig­nore you and mut­ter that you need to go back and re-read your book­let of road rules?

On any given sunny day, I have crawled along at 90, 80, and even 70 km/ h be­hind some­one who was to­tally un­aware of the long line of an­gry driv­ers fol­low­ing close be­hind.

It may come as news to many, but, ex­cept for the ar­eas around the three ‘ T-in­ter­sec­tions,’ the speed limit is ac­tu­ally 100 km/h!

Weather and road con­di­tions per­mit­ting, I have ev­ery right to go that fast, and to ex­pect you mo­torists in front of me to do the same.

This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant on an ‘ ad­e­quate’ high­way like this one.

If you can’t, or won’t, keep up to a rea­son­able speed, get out of my way.

If you’re “only go­ing from Car­bon­ear to River­head,” as we so of­ten see, that does not mean I also want to creep along be­hind you as far as Jamie’s Way.

If you do not wish to drive that fast or you’re just not in a hurry, there is a dif­fer­ent route you can take.

On the other hand, if I am al­ready go­ing 100, don’t tail­gate to try to get me to go faster. It won’t work. And like too many of you do, PLEASE don’t be stupid enough to try to pass me when there is al­ready a half-dozen cars ahead of me. I un­der­stand you are frus­trated. So am I.

But some­one up ahead, who is not in a hurry to get where they are go­ing, who never looks in the rear-view mir­ror, who does not un­der­stand that on a barely-ad­e­quate high­way like this we all owe each other a lit­tle ex­tra cour­tesy, who does not re­al­ize what a truly se­ri­ous dan­ger they are to oth­ers on the road, and who cares about no­body but them­selves, is hold­ing all of us back.

How about it folks? We all know what this high­way is like. Why don’t we all smarten up and make a lit­tle ex­tra ef­fort to keep each other safe by show­ing some con­sid­er­a­tion, learn­ing to merge and fol­low­ing the posted speed lim­its? Thanks. Dar­rell Yet­man


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