How was your highway today?
Highway drivers, did you share any of these experiences today during the police crackdown on HOV lane violators in Maryland and Virginia?
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I have carpooled with my husband from upper Montgomery County to the office park near Westfield's Mall for about four years. As a passenger, the things I see on a daily basis are often horrifying: road rage threatening multiple cars, lane changers in congested traffic at high speed while on the cell, folks texting at 65 mph, drivers who a) think I-270 is an autobahn, especially in the HOV lane, or b) drive like a video game with no real sense of consequence to reckless behavior behind the wheel.
Most trips are tension filled, as it is virtually impossible to progress up and down that highway at 60 - 65 mph, even in the HOV lane, without having multiple close calls and near accidents.
But today was different! In our 6 - 6:30 a.m. trip to Bethesda, we probably saw 10 cruisers with lights on giving tickets or whatever for HOV violators or other infractions. Yes, the result was a bit more congestion as drivers slowed down to gawk or be sure they were not the next target.
But it was the first trip in a very, very long time where the traffic flow was sane, at a reasonable speed and the lane changers and leapfroggers seemed to change their habits, at least for a day. While speeders and aggressive drivers everywhere are a safety problem, I do not see nearly enough police presence on I-270.
So I celebrate this day and look forward to our trip home tonight hoping it is more safe than yesterday and glad that Maryland's coffers will be filled with fines from these irresponsible drivers who think the laws don't apply to them.
I can only imagine today's trips on I-95 and I-66.
Police had announced that they would be out in force today on the Northern Virginia Interstates and the Dulles Toll Road and in Maryland on I-270 and Route 50. The goal is to get drivers who don't follow the HOV rules out of those lanes. HOV violators are among the D.C. region's most loathed drivers, according to what I see in the Dr. Gridlock mailbag.
But of course, any big police operation on the highways at rush hour has an extended effect. Everyone slows down and plays nice, if only for a moment. Some drivers slow down too much, and extra congestion results.
What behavior did you observe today? (You're likely to see the police on the highways again on your way home.)
May 5, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories: Commuting , Driving , Safety , highways | Tags: Dr. Gridlock
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