Is It Me or Are Some Drivers in Maine Getting Dumber?
Perhaps it's just been a case of bad luck. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time surrounded by the wrong people. Or maybe what i've been encountering almost daily over the last two weeks is a symptom of a larger problem. That problem is terrible, irresponsible driving.
The Lanes Hog
On my way into work several days ago at about 9am, I was driving on Congress Street in Portland. For roughly a mile, a section of the street is two lines to help disperse turning traffic on both the right and left sides of the road.
Another driver decided it was the perfect opportunity to use both lanes of Congress Street and drive slowly in the middle, leaving cars unable to pass on either side. Eventually the car found its way to one lane, and as I passed, I did what any good Maine driver would do, stared. The culprit? A cell phone in one hand and focus not on the road.
Another recent incident saw a driver who should know better since he was elderly. At a four-way stop near the Maine Mall, four vehicles (including myself) all approached the intersection simultaneously. A driver in front of the elderly driver made their way through the intersection first. No problem.
But the elderly driver decided it was his chance to blow through the intersection following that first car, and he nearly caused a three-car pile-up because of his impatience. The kicker? He flipped off the other drivers as though they were in the wrong. He was most definitely in the wrong.
Leaky Left Turn
The leaky left turn is something I've witnessed for several years, but seems to be showing itself far more regularly lately. The most recent incident I witnessed nearly caused a multi-car pileup.
At an intersection near Thompson's Point, there's a dual left turn. Both lanes turn left onto Congress Street. A large truck was on the inside lane, a small Honda Civic on the outside lane. When the light turned green, the large truck simply used both left turning lanes for themself, causing the driver of the Civic to slam on their brakes, nearly leading to an accident. The black truck sped off through a red light at the next intersection.
There is plenty of poor driving on highways in Maine every hour of every day, but an issue that I've repeatedly encountered this year is less of an error and entirely a courtesy issue. Most days on my commute into work, I use I-295 entering the highway near the Maine Mall.
On a bi-weekly basis, I run into a driver or drivers in the right lane of I-295 (with nobody in the passing lane) who refuse to move over to the left lane to allow cars to enter from the on-ramp. It creates a jumble of cars slowing down and has led to minor road rage incidents. It's completely unnecessary and a result of poor driver etiquette.
All of these incidents are small, but happen with far too much frequency in a time where driver distraction is at its highest. Take that extra second to focus on the road, stay in your lane, and be courteous to other drivers when you get a chance.
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