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A few driving pet peeves

By David Collins

Publication: The Day

Published May 12. 2013 4:00AM

I have another critical campaign platform suggestion for Connecticut's next candidates for governor, in addition to a promise to improve the state's grocery store choices.

I think voters would respond really well to a pledge to raise the penalties for driving while talking on a cellphone.

OK, maybe it's too late to suggest the death penalty. But, really, how about some jail time for repeat offenders?

Everyone hates it when they catch people phoning and driving. Even people who sometimes do it themselves get irate when they encounter others recklessly doing it.

You know who they are. You can tell what they are doing even before you pull alongside. The car is going very slow or weaving in and out of the lane.

Chances are phoners are in someone's way, while they chat. It's the chatters that are so annoying. It's never the quick check-in and hang-up kind of call that other drivers notice.

I think a promised crackdown on cellphone talking while driving could be a winning pledge for gubernatorial candidates.

I have a few other driving pet peeves, though not any as likely to help make someone governor.

Here are some of mine. I'm sure everyone has their own.

• Get out of the left lane if you're not going to pass. Really, it's none of your business if the guy on your tail is going too fast. And why stop with speeding? Maybe you should be a vigilante and try to stop all other crime in the state.

• Pull toward the center line if you are going to make a left turn. Could you be that insensitive to the line of traffic piling up behind you, as you wait to cross the oncoming traffic? Usually, if you get close to the center line, there is more than enough room to let people drive around.

• Use just one parking space per car. On what planet, I wonder, would it not be considered incredibly rude to greedily use two parking spaces in a crowded lot or garage? I am pretty sure that truck and SUV owners are the primary offenders. But I see a fair number of expensive imports sprawled across two spaces.

• Don't stop before you make a right turn. You can do it. Just swing the wheel and turn right and keep your foot off the brake. Slow down if you have to, but don't stop.

• Yield. The sign is very clear and it almost always appears on one lane of traffic or another when two lanes are required to merge. This is not optional. Let the other car in.

• Turn off the high beams when you are facing oncoming traffic or when coming up on someone from the rear. If one of your headlights is out, go with that. But lay off the high beams. Maybe the new governor could make an exception for offenders of this one to the law against the death penalty.

• Lay off the horn. Or at least use a honk instead of a blast.

In the event the next gubernatorial campaign gets bogged down in issues like taxes and budget deficits, I have another suggestion to address the rampant ignoring of laws against cellphone talking while driving.

Maybe some creative person could invent a device that would allow you to disable cellphones in the next car over. Maybe it could even send the person holding the phone an electric jolt.

I'm sure it would sell like crazy.

This is the opinion of David Collins.

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