Hopefully it will be smooth sailing before longBy TIM BEELAND,
Beware the intersections on Highway 80 in Forest. That’s what I’ve been preaching for a little over a week now. Beware!
It happened about this time last week. The day had been made, and I made my way out back of The Scott County Times to where I park my Expedition. I loaded up, cranked up, and eased on out around front of the building and up Smith Ave. toward the courthouse.
Traffic was light, and as I neared Highway 80 the traffic light turned green and I thought to myself what a lucky day. Sometimes it seems like it takes that light forever to turn green, but not that day, not my lucky day.
Then just as I was about to enter the intersection, out of nowhere a gray pickup truck blew through the red light from the west and sped on toward the east. I slammed on my breaks and everything in the back of the Expedition ended up in the front of the Expedition. Fortunately it stopped in time.
Beware the intersections on Highway 80.
Unfortunately this is nothing new. About a month ago a log truck did the same thing one morning when I was on the other side of the same intersection headed to work.
And on a regular basis, driver, after driver, after driver, chases one another through the green light, then the yellow light, then the red. It’s almost like they think as long as the train of vehicles keeps moving no one will dare pull into their path.
Sooner or later — probably sooner — somebody isn’t going to have as lucky of a day as I did and be able to stop. So, beware!
Oddly enough, the day after my near collision, we received a press release at the office concerning a recent survey on driving habits. It begins like this, “a new survey says that Mississippi drivers are among the rudest in the nation. The survey was done as part of a summer driving awareness campaign from Kars4Kids to promote courteous driving. Mississippi was rated as the 11th rudest state in the country, with an overall grade of D+, and is part of a trend that saw many Southern states perform very poorly in the survey. Five out of the ten rudest states are in the south according to the survey.”
Well, imagine that!
Somebody, somewhere is always doing a survey on something or the other and it does indeed seem that our great state always finds a place at or near the bottom of the “good” lists and at or near the top of the “bad” ones. We need to work on that.
But back to the problem here in Forest — and I suppose most other towns as well, it just so happens I’m driving here more than anywhere else — we need to work on this too.
Back in 1973, my grandfather died from injuries he received when the pickup truck he was a passenger in was t-boned by a transport truck as he and the man he was riding to work with waited to make a left turn off Highway 80 onto Highway 35. Some of those truck drivers are still doing the same kind of assumptive driving today. They assume the vehicle in the intersection is going to get out of the way before they get there and it doesn’t always happen that way. Plus, you do remember the saying about the word assume making something out of you and me, don’t you?
On the subject of Highway 35, it is a bit of a mess now with the overlay project ongoing, but that road was in rough shape and it will be so much better when it is all done.
I will say, though, when it comes to some of those workers out there on the highways, they certainly don’t get in any hurry at all trying to get out of the way when traffic is headed their way. Last week up on Highway 21 they were working on the turn outs and there was one fellow standing in the middle of the road — one lane at that time mind you — talking on his cell phone.
So, everybody take your time and ditch the road rage. If possible take a backroad to get where you are going, you might see a sight you haven’t seen before or at least one you forgot was there! Hopefully it will be smooth sailing before long.