Yield, You Big Dummy! [OPINION]
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed what appears to be a spate of weird motor vehicle accidents these days? Does it seem to you as though there are more rollover crashes on city streets? Fender benders and serious vehicle crashes seem more numerous on the area highways than I can ever recall. Is it just me?
I have written about this before, but the problem appears to be getting worse rather than better. Commuting home from Fairhaven to Dartmouth each afternoon is a nightmare. Have people forgotten how to drive? Maybe they never learned in the first place.
Consideration and curiousness on the highway or the city streets have all but vanished. It has become everyone for themselves and to hell with everyone else. Perhaps it's time to brush up on the rules of the road.
My biggest pet peeve is failure to yield when entering a highway. This is a particular concern on Route 195 westbound in New Bedford, specifically the Coggeshall Street, Route 18, and Cedar Grove on-ramps to 195 west. People roar up the on-ramps with no regard to the flow of traffic on the highway. In doing so, they force oncoming highway traffic to slow or stop to let them in.
This is also a problem on 195 eastbound, where traffic enters from Route 140. There is also an exit there, but because traffic joining the highway from 140 fails to yield, that exit can be difficult. On-ramps to Route 24 in both directions are as bad if not worse.
Massachusetts drivers need a refresher course in the rules of the road. Yield means you surrender the right of way to existing traffic when you are entering a highway. You look, slow down, and stop if necessary. You don't just barge right out into traffic.
Several states I have visited, including Arizona and Colorado, have stoplights or stop signs where the on-ramp meets the highway. That regulates the flow of traffic onto the highway and prevents drivers from blasting into the middle of it. Massachusetts needs to do this.
Meanwhile, haul your butt out of the center of the universe. Be more considerate of others on the roadway. It's not always about you and your perceived right to get somewhere first. Getting there alive and without killing someone else in the process is better, I promise.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.