So easily we forget to use our blinker

With Easter less than two weeks away and the end of the semester on the horizon, it’s time to refresh ourselves in a lesson on driving etiquette.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Systems 42,643 people died in highway accidents in 2003, I think I might know why. It’s because we have lost respect for speed limits and blinkers.

Now I was born and raised in Michigan, so I know all the rumors about “Michigan drivers,” and most of them are true. We really can go 90 miles and hour down back roads and put on our makeup at the same time.

Driving in Ohio really was a shock the first time when I saw the 65 mph speed limit sign and had to hit my brakes. But at least I saw the sign.

During my drive over spring break I noticed that a lot of people have no comprehension of safe driving techniques.

They think the left lane has no speed limit and everyone should get out of the way so they can go 90.

Let me give you a hint, the only reason to go 90 is if you are an emergency vehicle or if you are being chased by evil mobsters with big guns. These people had neither excuse.

I’m sure you all remember your parents telling you when you were little that you should always say please and thank you. Well, your blinker is please, and thank you is that little wave. No, not a wave of your finger. No one is going to get over if you fly up behind them and flash your bright lights in their mirror. I might slow down, but that would be bad manners on my part.

People today, especially teenagers and college students are driving sooner, farther, and faster than when the highways were first introduced in 1926.

Tell me why my speedometer goes to 120. Why my 15-year-old brother is in driver’s training, and why my 17-year-old cousin drove 1400 miles to Florida for her high school spring break.

These kids are getting licenses and cars before they’re old enough to sign a contract or vote.

Driver’s training has become a right in many schools, where it should be a privilege. It shouldn’t be easy for anyone to get a license. You should have to score 100 percent on every test you take. Nothing should be just “acceptable” when it comes to driving.

While my situation is surely different from others, I could tell so many sad stories, including sharing with you the fact that the last four or five fatal collisions in my home town have been directly related to students who have had their license less than two years.

During my four years of high school I had to attend three classmates’ funerals. Two were a direct cause of speeding.

Beside speed, blinkers are the biggest problem on the road today. Mostly when they aren’t used.

Now, I may be going back to my driver’s training here, but blinkers are your way of telling other people on the road that you need to get over or turn. We cannot read minds, that’s why we need blinkers.

If I’m going 75 and you’re going 65 and you swerve into my lane without using a blinker, what is going to happen? Here’s a hint: it won’t be my fault and you won’t get where you’re going on time.

Now I’ve seen a lot of people who do remember to use their blinkers, but they use them incorrectly.

A blinker says to me “excuse me, I need to get into that lane soon.” It should be used well in advance so the person in the other lane can decide whether to speed up and get around you before you get over, or slow down and let you in.

If you throw on your blinker as you’re swerving into my lane, it doesn’t count as using your blinker. And the cops will agree with me.

Now I know what you’re thinking: “but what if I just realized I have to get off at that exit?” Then you’ve missed your exit. Go to the next one and turn around. Better yet, get directions next time so you will know where you are going.

I urge all of you who drive on the expressway to leave in plenty of time to get to your destination. Bring some good music and lots of snacks and follow the road signs.

Crashes on the expressway are deadly. Don’t be one of those 42,000 people who becomes just another statistic.

Send comments to Amanda at [email protected].