Friday, January 19, 2007

Invasion of the REALLY Bad Drivers

No, no one’s run into the house again, but the way things have been going, I wouldn’t be that surprised. And all of this happened before the ice storm.

First, there was the lady on the cellphone who swerved into my lane to make a (for her) right hand turn. When I honked at her — she was only 20 yards away, and in line for a head-on collision — she took her other hand off the wheel to flip me off before completing her turn.

Then there was the woman and daughter who pulled up next to me on Fleet Street at the intersection with State. Unfortunately, Fleet is a two-lane, two-way street, so there we were, stopped at the light, both of us signaling left turns — and she’s in the opposing travel lane. I’m not sure if she ever realized that there was a problem, but she and her daughter were laughing uproariously the whole time.

But the real winner appeared on Tuesday night. I was on my way home from the new part time job (more on which later), and stopped at one of the larger intersections in the downtown area. As I said, this is a large intersection: on my side, there is a left turn lane, a travel lane, and a right turn lane, plus a parking lane; there is a single lane plus a parking lane for the opposing traffic. The cross street is a standard four lane road, two lanes of traffic in each direction, and there is a stop light at the intersection. I was stopped in the travel lane; there was a woman in the left turn lane, and the right turn lane had cleared.

A car came through the intersection — legitimately enough, on the green light — and turned not into the proper travel lane, but into the right turn lane to my right. And continued in that lane until I couldn’t see it any more in my mirror.

I didn’t hear a crash, but I’m not sure why I didn’t.

Now, Portsmouth is a tourist town, and people do get lost quite a bit — and I will admit that there are one-way streets through the downtown that make it hard to get to some places if you miss that all-important and largely unmarked first turn. But this is a bit more than can be explained by lost tourists.


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