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Sunday, June 26, 2022

Marion County resident voices concerns regarding unsafe drivers

To the Editor:

Three years ago, I moved from Arizona to Florida, and I’m still surprised at the lack of knowledge that drivers have out here. Either drivers in Florida don’t care or they think that they are the only ones on the road.

I have wondered how drivers of all ages have gotten their license here. Does the state of Florida not ensure that drivers are properly taught? I have driven in California and thought those drivers were bad. Boy was I wrong.

I feel that several individuals need a refresher on what the rules of the road are.

Traffic lanes: When you are on a four-lane road and each direction has two lanes, the left lane (#1) is for passing. Use this lane to pass someone in the right lane (#2) and then you can get into the right lane.

I understand that the speed limit is the fastest you can travel, and if you want to drive under the limit, that is completely fine. Don’t drive under the speed limit in the left lane, though, because you are impeding traffic and it is a ticketable offense.

Lollygagging in the left lane is what causes road rage because you are manipulating the flow of traffic. The passing lane is the #1 lane and you will see signs saying “slower traffic keep right.” It’s bad enough that motorhomes, semi-trucks, and dump trucks drive in the #1 lane with someone driving less than the speed limit in the #2 lane. Stop lollygagging around (see Florida Statue 316.2045).

Roundabouts: These are great if you know the rules of the road. When a roundabout has two lanes, never cross into the other lane. If you stretch out the roundabout, it’s a regular two-lane road. The inside left lane (#1) does not yield when exiting, and the right lane (#2) must yield. Surprisingly, an ambulance hit my husband last year in a roundabout because the driver didn’t know the rules. Unfortunately, I see this all the time on Buena Vista Boulevard in the Villages.

Stop lights: When the light turns green, that means that you start to drive, not finish your text or decide that the light is still red. By the way, we know who the texting drivers are. Your speed is slow, you swerve within your lane when you are texting, and you speed off when you’re done. Only miles down the road we see you again, driving slow and swerving in your lane. When you’re in your vehicle, your number one priority is to drive and get where you are going. Stop playing with your phones.

Flashing red stoplights or non-working intersections: When you come to an intersection and all lights flashing red, or the lights are not working, the intersection is treated as a four-way stop. Last weekend, my husband and I were on the 484 and came across this. We were in the #1 lane and stopped, but the driver in the #2 lane did not. Drivers on the other side of the road were not stopping either, and drivers heading north and south couldn’t go because of the east/west drivers.

Emergency vehicles: The law states that drivers need to move over and slow down/stop for emergency vehicles. A few days ago, I was at the stop light at Walmart in Summerfield and an ambulance was heading northbound with its lights and sirens on. Yes, I was in first position when the light turned green. I was also in the #1 lane, and I stayed put while the vehicles in the right lane started to drive. Thank God nobody was in the turn lanes so the ambulance could go through the light.

Think about this: if you had a family member or friend in that ambulance, how ticked off would you be if they didn’t make it to the hospital in time because you held up the ambulance? I know I would be very ticked off. A day after this happened, a local news station ran a story on emergency vehicles and people not pulling over.

Blinkers: These are amazing indicators to let other drivers know you are going to turn or change lanes. Blinkers don’t mean that you speed up to stop a driver from changing lanes. After moving here, my husband and I were on the 441 heading north and we put the blinker on to get into the #1 lane to make a left turn a quarter-mile ahead. The car that was in the #1 lane was at least two car lengths back as we were completing the transition into that lane. The person in that car didn’t like it and sped up, drove onto the grass median, threw their fountain drink at us, and made us miss our turn. Lord have mercy, people: pay attention and don’t be an idiot.

If you need a refresher on the rules of the road, go to the local tax collector to pick up the Florida Driver’s License Handbook or review it online. Common sense saves lives, and watch out for motorcycles.

Laura Yanez
Summerfield resident

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