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Missing the point

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Published on: Thursday, October 25, 2012

By Brian J. Karem

The Civic Federation this week came out with their latest ideas regarding traffic in the Montgomery County area and I’m afraid they’ve got it all wrong.

It is not about Route 29, or interchanges or the Beltway or even the ICC (Road to Nowhere).

So, please indulge me as I lay out the 10 commandments for better traffic control and saner commuting in Montgomery County:


When a commuter uses his turn signal to change lanes, he or she is not seeking permission. They are signaling intent. Wise drivers will refrain from blaring their horn and scaring or angering everyone in a five-car radius as they show their ridiculous indignation as someone attempts to merge or get into the right hand lane to slow down and execute a turn.


The left lane on the highway is for faster traffic. Do not induce homicidal thoughts or mass murder by getting into the left lane and slowing down. Use the far right lane to stay alive.


Do not eat, drink, read the newspaper, copulate, talk on the phone, text, drive with two knees while combing your hair, nor should you apply makeup, wash your face or beat your children while you drive on the interstate. Enough said.


Do not follow behind a large truck so you cannot see any other traffic. Tailgating gas tankers, or loggers is also not only unfashionable but unfathomable unless you’re contemplating suicide and mass murder.


You may play the meanest air-guitar in Christendom, but nobody cares in bumper to bumper traffic.


You may despise your own children, but that’s no reason to go after every other child on the planet. Stop when you see a school bus stopping.


Do not try to out run an ambulance, nor should you “draft” behind a speeding police car, ambulance or fire truck.


Speaking of police; You do not need to slow down five miles per hour slower than the speed limit just because a cop is on the highway. Chances are you will just anger him and everyone else as you become a rock in the stream of traffic.


Unless you’re a professional photographer, family member or a zombie looking for a treat, please do NOT rubberneck and slow down to a crawl just because you see flashing lights or an accident on the other side of the highway!


Finally, while we all know you are the most important person on the planet, if you’d allow the rest of us the luxury of co-existing with you in traffic without being cussed at, threatened or rammed by your 1970 Impala boat, we’d all get along just dandy. As an added bonus, how about you let pedestrians cross the road in the crosswalk instead of viewing them as bowling pins and your car as a bowling ball?

There are, of course, other ways to assist in the smooth flow of traffic that work as amendments to these basic ten driving rules, like keeping the sound of your choice of music under 10,000 decibels so my car doesn’t rattle to your tunes.

Then there’s also the idea of not throwing your lit cigarette out of the window on the interstate so it enters my open car window as a flaming missile.

You could also add, don’t slow down to five miles per hour just because it’s cloudy, and don’t park on the side of the road if it’s slightly raining.

All of these are good ideas to keep down the problems in traffic in the wonderful Washington D.C. metro area.

The fact is, building new roads really doesn’t mean better commute times when you have idiots behind the wheel.

And while I know this has absolutely nothing to do with widening interstate highways, or building better interchanges, man I’d sleep a lot better at night if people drove a little saner.

Now, excuse me, I’m late and I’m the most important person on the planet, so get out of my way!

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