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The Gray Line Tour

By Leonard Gray / L’Observateur / September 14, 1998

Everyone else is talking about tropical storms and President Clinton, so I won’t.

You truly take your life in your hands when you get out on the highways today. It’s not the water and wind I’m talking about, but road rage. And, toan extent, I understand road rage, since there are so many bad drivers out there. Even though auto insurance rates are still bad in Louisiana I don’tthink it’s because there are so few buying liability insurance. I think it’sbecause there are simply a lot of bad drivers out there.

You know what I mean. The looney who gives you the single-finger salutewhen he cuts you off. The bonehead who takes a right turn from a left laneor a left turn from the outside right lane, sometimes running through red lights and frightening oncoming drivers.

I admit to getting angry out there. I try not to use rude hand gestures but Iusually respond to those with a friendly wave. I figure we have horns inour vehicles, just to give bad drivers the knowledge that we’re hacked off.

It does no good except to let them know we’re upset. Usually, though, theydon’t know why.

“I pay taxes! I should be able to do what I want on the roads!” Does that include 70 mph on River Road, passing three and four and five vehicles at once? Does that include driving 20 mph in a 35 mph zone with a turn signal blinking for five miles straight? Does that include high beams in your face? I’m split on the whole road-rage thing, though. I get hacked off at baddrivers, yet when I react to bad driving, I’m at fault for losing my temper.

There’s a basic, unfair line of thinking in there, somewhere.

St. John School Board Member Russ Wise, while not exhibiting what mostpeople would consider road rage, acted to get a bad driver off the road before he hurt somebody. As a result, Wise was told not to do what he didagain. Wise said he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t do the same thing ifhe saw it again.

I think I can understand that. I have a clean police record but I’d betempted to do what Wise did if I saw what he did.

Recently, I found out if you keep tickets off your record, you could renew your driver’s license by mail. I’d never heard of this before. There are a lotof people who get away with really bad driving habits, but are never spotted doing this by police and are able to go ahead and keep their licenses.

I’m thinking everyone, every time, should have to pass that written and driving test when they renew. If they don’t pass, they don’t drive for sixmonths. No retaking the test for six months, while they take a gooddriver’s education course.

But then that sounds like Russ.

Leonard Gray is a reporter for L’Observateur.

Copyright © 1998, Wick Communications, Inc.

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