Letters to the Editor

Driving decency

April 14, 2010


To the editor:

After nearly being hit, twice in one day, by drivers turning out to the furthest lane at intersections where I had the right of way, I have lost all patience with Lawrence’s “make-it-up-as-you-go” drivers. What became of respect for others on the road and for the law? How did Lawrence, supposedly such a great place to live, become a place governed by opportunism, where erratic behavior is OK as long as someone can get away with it? There is no excuse for such blatant disregard for decency in our driving behaviors.

I have names for all of the new driving styles: “swingers” (those who’ve forgotten the “turn-into-the-nearest-lane from-a-side-street” rule), “gliders” (those who glide smoothly into turn lanes without signaling and use them as another driving lane), “weavers,” “knitters” and “crocheters” (the varieties of lane-changing methods used by impatient drivers to pass those going too slow for their taste). Overall, “fast and reckless” seems to be the new motto for Lawrence drivers.

Historically, city decision-makers will look the other way until a dangerous situation results in a death. Who, and how many, will have to die before Lawrence law enforcement cracks down on Lawrence drivers?


Benjamin Roberts 8 years, 1 month ago

The worst is the drivers that turn left out of a drive into the center left-turn lanes to use them as merge lanes. Dangerous, rude, and illegal.

CreatureComforts 8 years, 1 month ago

Uh, that is not illegal at all...it is normal driving, especially in places where there is real traffic (i.e. cities). I grew up in Boston and that was one of the first things we learned in drivers ed. So did my cousins in Chicago.

Take_a_letter_Maria 8 years, 1 month ago

Guess CreatureComforts better take a reading comprehension course because hail points out correctly that it is NOT illegal.

Casey_Jones 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe you should read comments before you insult the poster.

CreatureComforts 8 years, 1 month ago

I didn't invent the LJWorld "reply" function, where I click "reply" to Did_I_say_that and it puts it as a reply to hail2oldku.

Take_a_letter_Maria 8 years, 1 month ago

Pretty easy actually. You hit reply to the person you want to reply to and it aligns properly.

In the first case, you hit reply on hail's. On this one you hit reply on your own.

So easy even Ron Jeremy could do it.

Take_a_letter_Maria 8 years, 1 month ago

I am here for my mea culpa. It does appear that there are some flaws in the threading that make it "unclear" as to who you may have been replying. My 11:52 response to you is a perfect example.

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

Actually, it's both legal and safer...

CreatureComforts 8 years, 1 month ago

Guess Did_I_say_that better take a drivers ed refresher ;)

Glen Moore 8 years, 1 month ago

INCONSIDERATE, IMPATIENT, INCOGNIZANT....... And many other words, some of which are very nasty and impolite is what I use to discribe TONS of drivers in this general area. Not just Lawrence but within 100 miles of here. I ride a motorcycle every day I can. I love it. It uses much less gas than any 4 wheeler. I ride to work and home every day. I feel free when riding and I have an equal share of the road when I am riding. HOWEVER it is dangrous to ride around here. I was riding thru town yesterday headed east on 19th just about to Haskell. I was turning left on Bullene ave when this lifted older Orange 80's Chevy Truck almost made my day a terrible one. 1. He was following too close. 2. He was not paying attention. As I gave a signal just after Delaware st that I would be turning, 3. He had to slam on his breaks and jump the curb to avoid killing me. (I downshiffted and opened it up to avoid getting hit). Talking about road rage. I was HOT. Stupid people driving and not paying attention is what is going to be the death of me! I hope the driver of the orange truck reads this. YOUR AN IDIOT. Do us all a favor and hold your breath untill I turn blue in the face. I will remember that truck for a long time ;) and I will see it parked somewhere sometime ;) Hope I'M paying attention that day!

For those of you that are attentive and respectful of ALL persons traviling the roads and keep your eyes out for bicyclist, joggers, and Motorcyclist.... Thank you and have a wonderful day!

januarygirl 8 years, 1 month ago


januarygirl 8 years, 1 month ago


gphawk89 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't know what it is about QuikTrip, but QT parking lots seem like the most dangerous place to drive of just about anywhere. Didn't a bicyclist get killed in a QT parking lot not too long ago?

Glen Moore 8 years, 1 month ago

The topic of conversation here is "Driving decency" Not grammer police. :)

Glen Moore 8 years, 1 month ago

OMG the grammer police are rofltao at the un-edited typos on a public thread. Don't worrie folks next time I'll preview my comment and proof read it for errors since I know many of you have nothing better to do than proof read every comment you see and point out the flaws. I guess I read faster than most or just don't care to point out the flaws others post. and I still think the guy in the orange truck is an idiot.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

I've had 4 accidents here in town, and collected off the other driver's insurance every time.

Another driver rear ended me twice (I was completely stopped at a red light both times!), another driver pulled out in front of me once, and another time the other driver ran a red light.

There were many other close calls when I slammed on the brakes or swerved just in time!

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

It's not paranoia if your fears are realistic. I always drive very carefully and always wear my seatbelt.

notajayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

"Carefully", perhaps. VERY careful drivers tend to be able to avoid accidents even when the other person runs a red light, pulls out in front of them, etc.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

True, notajayhawk, but if they run a red and into the side of your car, which is what happened, and what to do when stopped at a red light? And there is a "perfect moment" when there is just no way to avoid hitting someone that pulls out right in front of you. Truth is, I'm scared to death in a car, all the time.

notajayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

That may be part of the problem.

As to your first question, a "very careful" driver might have looked both ways before entering the intersection, regardless of whether their own light turned green. As for the second, I have been in that situation - I heard a car skidding to a stop behind me, and had time to throw the car in gear and pop the clutch, moving forward just enough to give him room to finish stopping.

I'm not saying ALL accidents are avoidable - that's pretty much why they call them accidents. But many are preventable if people take precautions even when they have the right of way. As a general rule, expect the other guy to do something stupid, and be ready for it.

madameX 8 years, 1 month ago

Kinda off topic, but let's not forget the ever-growing numbers of drivers who can't seem to figure out what is or is not a parking space, or, having correctly identified a parking space, can't seem to manuver their vehicle between the two white lines that mark the boundaries. SOOOOOOO many times have I found what I thought was an empty spot, only to discover upon closer inspection that vehicle in the next spot is six inches over the line. Yes, they have usually left enough room for me to get my car in, but I have not confidence at all in the driver's ability to get their car out of that space without hitting mine, since they couldn't get in to the space properly in the first place.

parrothead8 8 years, 1 month ago

I love that idea, Tom, but someone has already done it. Google "fake parking ticket" and you'll see what I mean.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Tom? That's only gonna work if they can read!

gphawk89 8 years, 1 month ago

When I was a kid my dad would occasionally let the air out of one of the tires of a double-parked car. I grew up thinking that was just what you did in that situation. Maybe it should be. I just park extremely close (3 inches) to the offending car. The condition my car is in, anyone who bumps me will end up with more damage to their car than mine.

anonyname 8 years, 1 month ago

It sure is pleasant driving in every other city in Kansas, or anywhere else for that matter, knowing that every single other driver follows every single traffic rule perfectly - that's why nobody outside of Lawrence needs insurance. Seriously, I completely agree that some drivers in Lawrence are complete idiots, and better enforcement would be a big help (though it would require more officers, which you and I would need to pay for somehow), but to claim that this is an issue unique to Lawrence is humorous.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Actually the drivers here are better than the ones in Los Angeles, in my opinion.

gatekeeper 8 years, 1 month ago

I don't agree. Lived there and still have family that do. Out there, people at least signal and most are used to insane traffic and tend to drive a little better. The cops will pull you over for anything and I think that makes a big difference. Here, the cops never pull anyone over for ignoring basic rules and people know they can get away with driving however they want.

Georgia and Florida have some of the absolutely worst drivers I have ever seen. On GA highways, cops can be pulling people over left and right and everyone else will continue to drive 20+ miles over the limit (never using signals and only caring about themselves). I always wondered if they didn't really care about getting tickets or just take their chances. In FL, no one pays attn and it's just insane.

Drivers here suck, but they suck in many places. I think if we enforced traffic laws more and had stricter driving tests to get a license, it would help.

CreatureComforts 8 years, 1 month ago

I completely disagree. I think the drivers in LA are better at the fundamentals of driving...they have to be. There is much more traffic driving at a much quicker speed. A move that could get you a simple honk from another drive in Lawrence could get you killed in LA.

It certainly is not a fun place to drive, but I actually feel safer driving in LA than in Lawrence, I feel the people there are more experienced. Just my opinion

CreatureComforts 8 years, 1 month ago

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to rip JoCo. I think JoCo drivers are better than Lawrence drivers. It all has to do with what you are used to. I learned to drive and honed my skills in a big city, so the faster pace of drivers in JoCo fits me more than Lawrence.

oldvet 8 years, 1 month ago

Right on, CC! That JOCO intersection is just another place where you have to use your NASCAR skills... Everything I know about driving I learned from Dale Earnhardt...

gphawk89 8 years, 1 month ago

I used to think that that interchange was bad, but you're right, there are much worse places. I hit traffic worse than that every day to and from work now. I would LOVE it if traffic was as light and drivers were as good here as in Lawrence.

Kevin Sontag 8 years, 1 month ago

It's all Bush/Cheney/Rove's fault... and corrupt Fox News's too!

hail2oldku 8 years, 1 month ago

I just love the idiots that roll through the stop signs like they are attached to the car in front of them that actually DID have the right of way.

hipper_than_hip 8 years, 1 month ago

"JOCO drivers are some of the most obnoxious, rude and flat out dangerous drivers I've seen."

You can take the driver out of Johnson County, but you can't take Johnson County out of the driver.

I've heard a number of ex-JoCo residents complain that people in Lawrence drive too slow.

gphawk89 8 years, 1 month ago

One of these "wavers" almost killed a good friend a few years back. She was waiting to turn left across three lanes of traffic. Drivers in the left and center lanes were wavers so she turned across in front of them. Unfortunately the pickup in the far right lane was not a waver and t-boned her car doing about 45 mph. When I experience a waver I just shake my head. Some keep waving and I keep shaking my head. Then they flip me off and zoom away. Whatever...

Katara 8 years, 1 month ago

Same thing happened to a family member of mine. And the waver drove off after the accident happened so there were no other witnesses.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence drivers really aren't that bad...try driving in the Washington DC for awhile.

LoveThsLife 8 years, 1 month ago

That should say "the Washington DC area"

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

Actually, Did I Say That, turning left out of a parking lot into the center/turn lane is appropriate and legal.

notajayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

A car salesman I used to know was almost killed by that mistake. Not his own - he was on a test drive with a driver who had the wheels cut, and when they were rear-ended they were pushed directly in front of an oncoming dump truck.

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

In general, despite the impression one might get from reading many of the postings, Lawrence drivers are much better than most. I've lived in many places across the country and travel frequently on business. A few examples of much worse places to drive: #1 - Boston, in this town drivers drive with one hand on the wheel and horn and one hand out the window flipping the bird. A taxi driver there once drove up on the curb, then into the opposing traffic lane,then ran a red light. I covered my eyes. #2 - New York, you gotta problem with that? #3 - LA, I yielded the right of way to an old lady who wanted to turn left in front of me in a parking lot. She flipped me off as she drove past, nuff said. #4 - Santa Fe, NM, it is quite telling that a favorite bumper sticker there reads, "Visualize Using Your Turn Signals".

oldvet 8 years, 1 month ago

The most fun is at the 4-way stop when, as you are waiting and stopped, and you know that bike rider coming at you won't even make an attempt to stop. So when he/she just blows thru the stop sign I give it a false start up... fun to watch the terror on their faces... the sign means STOP, idiot!!!

bastet 8 years, 1 month ago

Right turn on red--AFTER, AFTER, AFTER, AFTER, AFTER you STOP , STOP, STOP, STOP. The ones with the GREEN LIGHT are the ones with the right of way. Your right turn on red is a courtesy, an afterthought, a perk for you IF, IF, IF there is no one else coming at you.

Good grief. . . . .

mr_right_wing 8 years, 1 month ago

"What became of respect for others on the road and for the law? "

I believe it started with the old 'car phones' over time we've had more and more luxuries that contribute to distracted driving. Regardless of what kind of legislation is passed (or how many are killed) it is only going to get worse....at least until they basically design the car that can drive itself without human interference. We think too highly of ourselves and are all too important to merely concentrate on driving safely. You are not important, so if my irresponsible driving kills you...well, sorry...but, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I'll be back on the road tomorrow doing the exact same thing.

Cooky_the_Cook 8 years, 1 month ago

You guys think JoCo drivers are bad... what about all of those drunk 90 year old asian women who text and put on their makeup while california rolling stop signs with the turn signal blinking all fast because the other one is out and they have four hundred old coffee cups on the dash and no muffler and you just know you are a better person than them and everyone else who ever drove a vehicle.

Tom McCune 8 years, 1 month ago

Old Asian Californian women are the worst. They're not texting. They're half blind and didn't learn to drive until they were 50 years old. They mostly drive Mercedes which are twice as heavy as other cars. They walk away, while others are crushed.

pizzapete 8 years, 1 month ago

yea, that's what drives me crazy. Use your damn signal I can't read your mind.

Mike Hatch 8 years, 1 month ago

4 way stops. Harvard & Kasold. Drivers on Kasold come to a brief stop (if you're lucky) and then keep on going. Often when there's a car with the right of way on either side of Harvard waiting to get thru the intersection. Sometimes it takes 3 Kasold drivers to finally not barrel thru the interesection to let the Harvard drivers finally go thru. Just because you're on a more heavily-travled street doesn't mean the rules of the 4-way don't apply to you.

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

Funny, I go through that intersection on a daily basis and have never experienced that of which you complain. Maybe it's the color of your world...

Mike Hatch 8 years, 1 month ago

I go through it daily too and that happens almost every day (usually around 9:30AM and at 6:30PM on weekdays). It's like the cars traveling on Kasold don't bother to even look to see if there's anyone to their right or left before going on thru the intersection. I've seen quite a few near-accidents because of it.

hail2oldku 8 years, 1 month ago

Maybe bruno is one of those drivers on Kasold oblivious to those cars on Harvard. This was the very intersection I was thinking of when I posted this morning at 9:15.

bruno2 8 years, 1 month ago

Naw, Hail2, I come off of Harvard. But I sure haven't had the nasty experience you folks are talking about. AND, I DO ALWAYS YIELD THE RIGHT OF WAY AND WAIT MY TURN. So back off beep beep. Maybe it is the time of day?

iloveyoutoo 8 years, 1 month ago

What you said above applies to roundabouts as well. The cars on the heavily-traveled streets think they may just barrel on through without acknowleding the "YIELD" signs. People that don't know how to use roundabouts are at the top of my list of biggest pet peeves.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Roundabouts are new to a lot of people, I think in time that will get better. At least I hope so!

whats_going_on 8 years, 1 month ago

We said that when they started putting in the roundabouts years ago. Never happened. I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you.

notajayhawk 8 years, 1 month ago

Massachusetts has an enormous number of those (they call them traffic circles) and have for many, many years. And they have one of the highest traffic accident rates in the country.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

Well, the cops can always tell whose fault it was by looking to see which side of which car was smashed. Actually, I wouldn't mind getting rid of my 2 ton monster van that way, but people tend to get the hell out of my way.

Mike Hatch 8 years, 1 month ago

I"d rather sing "We're Not Gonna Take it".

Another rant: I work on the far East side of town, right on 23rd. When traffic backs up on K-10/23rd right at that first stoplight in the city limits, dozens of cars drive through the parking lot to bypass the stoplight. They treat it like an off-ramp and the typical car is going about 30mph through a PARKING LOT.

Brandon Devlin 8 years, 1 month ago

I've seen them do the same thing in the Hallmark parking lot coming off of I-70. And not just when traffic is backed up, either.

Brandon Devlin 8 years, 1 month ago

Not really an issue in Lawrence, but as I drive the interstate a lot. . . What I really can't stand are the Kansas knuckleheads who like to hang out in the left-hand lane on the highway. Maybe it comes from living for so many years in Germany where people really DO know how to drive correctly, but nothing gets my blood boiling like getting stuck behind some beater doing 65 in the left-hand lane "just because I can" and making everyone else go around them on the other (ie, WRONG) side.

In Deutschland, that will gain you a ticket and the wrath of Porsche-ists doing 260kmh in the Autobahn "speed lane." (Last I heard, that's against the law in Kansas, too. Where are the Highway Patrol when we really need them?)

Brandon Devlin 8 years, 1 month ago

I apologize in advance for saying "Kansas knuckleheads." It should have been "Midwest knuckleheads," as it's not just Kansans doing it. It did roll off of the tongue a bit smoother, though.

Mike Hatch 8 years, 1 month ago

Pretty sure you're right about driving in the left lane on an interstate being illegal. I think the law was passed last year sometime: can't drive for more than one mile (or something like that) in the left lane on a highway unless you're actively passing another vehicle. Up until that, it was just a common sense rule of the road.

pooter 8 years, 1 month ago

It's not just happening in the midwest, it's everywhere where there are people who obviously must think it's their job to drive in the left lane impeding traffic.

And actually some of the worst states are those that have split speed limits, with big truck speed set at 55 and cars at 65, it's not hard to guess where ALL the poke along idiots are driving and keeping pace with the trucks so no one else can get around or go.

Bruce Liddel 8 years, 1 month ago

Traditional driver's ed, taught mostly in public schools by PE teachers, was mostly to scare kids into driving slowly, by repeating the mantra "speed kills" (which isn't even true) over and over again about 1,000 times. The State of Kansas has only ONE state employee to administer ALL the driving schools in the entire state. That's nowhere near enough. Many obstacles are erected as barriers to new driving schools going in. You can't even get a straight answer about how to start a new school, but it IS going to happen. Things WILL improve. Keep your eye on www.GoDriving.com. (Yeah, a friend of mine - full disclosure).

Liberty275 8 years, 1 month ago

"where I had the right of way"

You NEVER have the right of way. All a driver can do is fail to yield the right of way.

whats_going_on 8 years, 1 month ago

I really hate it when we're cruising along at a good speed on a street without turn lanes (i.e. Bob Billings) and someone decides to slam on the breaks and turn right or left with virtually no signal or warning that they are going to turn. And its even worse if they break and take FOREVER to turn.

I always thought that JoCo drivers were bad, but honestly I think a lot of them are more aggressive, which they probably need to be in a big city. Doesn't fit in around here but there, its just the way of live. I just learned how to drive a stick shift and a couple weeks ago I killed it at a stop sign in Olathe, but got going again after like 2 seconds and had road rage flying EVERYWHERE. The person in front of me hadn't even gotten that far ahead, it was ridiculous.

mary_mo70 8 years, 1 month ago

Lawrence drivers aren't so bad,in fact most are courteous. Before learning the layout of the land I had a few instances of being in the wrong lane but people were kind enough to let me cut in. Now you try that in Dallas and hell will freeze over before you're let in. I was rear-ended on 23rd St by someone watching the Liberty Tax people dance. They really are a nuisance and a distraction to drivers.

JRS 8 years, 1 month ago

Yesterday I had two incidents happen.

1 I was driving north on Iowa coming up on the intersection of 23r and Iowa when some girl in a white car went from the far right lane all the way to the far left turning lane. Luckily I saw her and was able to slow down. If I had not she would have hit me and sent me into the first turning lane and those cars into the next lane and then those cars into oncoming traffic. Now that's the kind of crap that HAS to stop. Serveral people could have been seriously hurt.

2 I was driving west on 9th when the car in front of me turned. I appropriately slowed and once they had completed that turn I began to drive again. A bicyclist, who should have stopped at the STOP sign pulled out and yelled at me " Sure, act like you know how to drive" I'm sorry sir, YOU need to learn to drive. Stop thinking you can tango with a car and while you are at it, get rid of that superior attitude. You are lucky I saw you.

Whew, feels good to get that out. That is all.

jonas_opines 8 years, 1 month ago

You know who I hate? People on the road who aren't me. I drive really, really well, but I keep getting into problems because just about everybody else around here (here being the place I happen to be at the time) are blithering idiots who don't know how to drive, and if they did know how to drive they're too busy doing other things and keep screwing things up for me again.

gccs14r 8 years, 1 month ago

If you hear lots of horns honking everywhere you drive, it's you they're honking at. Figure it out.

grimpeur 8 years, 1 month ago

yep, gccs14 has it.

Also, if you find that you're driving around "slamming on the brakes" all the time: again, you're the problem. Figure it out.

independant1 8 years, 1 month ago

Whoever has the crapiest car has the right of way.

gccs14r 8 years, 1 month ago

In some parts of the world the rule is, "He who has the most lug nuts wins."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.