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Common Sense News Break - Rules of the Road

Good morning, Adventure Coast, it's time for another common sense news break.

There are a lot of issues that spark heavy debate among my readers, a lot of them related to vehicle crashes and the rules of the road.

After a fatal motorcycle crash involving another at-fault driver, the most common question is, "Why isn't the other driver in jail?" The answer is quite simple. If the at-fault driver committed a traffic infraction that led to the death of another individual and there are no criminal factors involved, no one is going to jail. It's just an accident and accidents happen. It's no different than if you accidentally strike a pedestrian, or you leave water on the floor and a person slips, falls, and dies of a brain injury. On the other hand, if an at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs, or alcohol, or involved other criminally negligent factors, then yes, they would most likely be charged criminally. Even driving on a suspended license can result in stiff criminal penalties.

There is a misconception among many of my readers who think most motorcycle crashes are the result of a car striking a motorcycle. In fact, about 50% of motorcycle crashes do not involve another vehicle at all, and the vast majority of those involve the driver failing to negotiate a curve.

It's just common sense. If you choose to ride a motorcycle on public roadways, you are at greater risk of injury or death if you are involved in an accident. One vehicle has a protective cage, the other does not. But please "cagers," do your part and watch out for motorcycles.

We saved left-lane drivers for last because there are a lot of people who absolutely stand by their defense of, "I'm driving the speed limit so go around." What they don't understand is that they are breaking the law – no differently than if they were speeding.

When you choose to "camp" in the left lane for several miles, you're not just being inconsiderate to drivers behind you, you're increasing the risk of a serious accident. For example, let's say you are driving on Mariner Blvd (a four-lane roadway). You are driving exactly the speed limit or under in the left lane and there are a dozen vehicles behind you. There are also drivers in the right lane going the speed limit or slower. A driver behind you is looking to pass you on the right. The moment they change lanes, the car in front of them decides to brake and turn right. They have a collision, and you drive on like nothing happened.

People say, "It's too hard for me to get out of the right lane when it's time to turn left." That's not an excuse. If you can't negotiate a lane change within a half mile of your turn, then maybe you need to get some driving lessons.

Just try being courteous to drivers behind you and if you see someone closing in, move over and let them pass. You don't know what's going on in people's lives, so why do you want to cause more stress that may potentially lead to road rage or an injury accident?

Just use common sense people.


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