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You can just call me a big whiner

By Staff | May 24, 2015

When you finish reading this week’s column, your reaction might be that you have read it before.

And, you would be correct. A version of this column has run in the past.

You also might want to offer the editor some cheese, because this is my annual “whining” about the drivers in Blue Earth. (And cheese goes well with whine.)

Let’s face it. A lot of our drivers are pretty bad. And a few of them are so bad they are downright dangerous.

In fact, it makes me wonder if they got their driver’s license from a pack of bubble gum cards.

Our roundabouts are now the prime example of bad drivers being on the road.

Personally, I don’t find them to be all that complicated to navigate through. One drives up, yields to oncoming traffic already in the roundabout circle, then enters it when there is no oncoming traffic, drives around to the right to the appropriate street and then exits the roundabout.

All at about 15 miles per hour.

Unfortunately a whole lot of people just plain don’t get it. And I have determined that the reason they don’t get it is because they can’t read. They have no idea what the letters Y-I-E-L-D spell. Or what the word yield means.

It means that as you approach the roundabout, you are to yield (give way) to oncoming traffic that is already in the roundabout. Not the other way around. And, if there is oncoming traffic, then you may have to come to a complete stop. Yes, folks, you are to actually STOP at a Yield sign, if there are some cars or trucks bearing down on you. Those folks who are already in the roundabout have the right of way.

Yet time after time when I am already in the roundabout circle, cars and trucks hardly slow down at all and try to force their way into the roundabout with me already there ‘in their way.’

And then and this is the kicker they actually glare at me, with a snarl that seems to question why the heck I didn’t yield to them, because they think they have the right of way because they are entering the roundabout.

It happened to me twice just yesterday. And one of those times I was fairly sure the white pickup with a topper was going to plow into the side of my vehicle. I am fairly sure his truck was so close to mine that we actually exchanged some paint molecules.

And, all the while I could see he was chewing me out for not stopping for him.

In the other case, a small gray car went through the roundabout without ever slowing down and I am pretty sure the driver never looked for any oncoming traffic at all. This time I did actually have to yield to him, even though I had the right of way.

It is not so surprising people have trouble with the yield signs at the roundabouts because they sure don’t yield anywhere else. In fact, the only time they yield is at stop signs, and even then they are none to happy about having to wait for other cars to go by.

I see it each and every day – drivers barely slowing down at a stop sign, much less actually stopping.

Is it because we are all in such a hurry? Are we always late for where we are going, so we have no time to stop?

Cars and trucks and those loud motorcycles seem to be racing down Blue Earth’s Main Street like it is their personal speedway.

We don’t seem to stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks, or for our neighbors trying to back out of a diagonal parking space, or for bicyclists and walkers who are sharing the street with us because there are no sidewalks in parts of the town.

And some of those bicyclists don’t seem to understand that they must follow all of the traffic rules just like a car does. That includes stopping at a Stop sign and yielding at a Yield sign.

How about this. Take a deep breath, slow down, yield at the roundabouts, come to a full stop at a stop sign, and practice driving safely and neighborly.

Oh yeah, and while I am at it, put the cell phone down and buckle up your seat belt.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I prefer pepper jack cheese with my whine, thank you.