Nice drivers often put others at risk by not taking the right-of-way

Posted 22 June 2016 at 12:00 am

I do a LOT of driving. In my line of work, I can put between 100-180 miles on my car on every given weekday. I do mostly “off the Thruway” driving and encounter some of the most infuriating driving situations, and some of the most deadly.

I am never so inclined to bother the Editor with what I call “Road Etiquette,” but an incident last week was appropriate as ever to address this to the community.

We have a ton of 4-way stops in Orleans, Monroe, Genesee and Niagara counties. And I’ve seen just about everything, to be sure. Last week was the most terrifying ever, because my son was in the backseat when it happened.

We were at the stop sign at East Shelby Road and 31A, and a FedEx truck was on the opposite side. He was trying to take a right, I a left. He had the right-of-way and 31A traffic was at 4 p.m., with people in a hurry to get home via speeding.

I patiently awaited the FedEx truck to take his right turn, so that I could safely take my left. And then he waived me on wanting me to take my left, no doubt feeling “gracious” and not considering the dangerous situation he was putting me in. This happens to me ALL OVER Western New York, and infuriates me to no end.

People waiving other drivers to go against the right-of-way unwittingly put them in danger, and they may not be aware of it; they just think they are being “nice” and want people like me to simply trust their judgment via hand gesture that it is “Alright Miss, go ahead, I will wait for your turn first since yours, the left, is the most tricky. I can’t assure you 100 percent that it is safe to go against the rules, you just have to trust me.”

So like a dummy, frustrated because the truck would not take his right turn until I took my left while traffic on 31A was flying by, I took the bait. And we, my son and I, nearly got killed because I did not see the green car to my left flying toward me due to my line of sight being low in my small car.

And how we did not get hit by this car is only a miracle from God. That car missed mine by milliseconds, honked loudly and I peeled out when I saw him by gunning my gas HARD. And the Fed Ex guy then went straight because he realized that because he was “Just being a nice guy,” he nearly caused a deadly car wreck. And the worst of it is, I know better.

Understand, drivers: Had I been hit, the fault would have been MINE.  Had my child been killed by ME agreeing to IGNORE the Rules of the Road, I would have been devastated and the guilt alone would kill me.

I would have been complicit in the FedEx driver’s negligence in going against the rules, and legally, there would be no recourse to me. Do you understand now, gracious drivers who think they are doing others a favor by “The Waive”?

Please, people, if you have the right-of-way just TAKE IT.  Spare the rest of us the guess work, the misplaced trust in your gracious hand gesture to “trust” you. You could save a life, simply by following the rules. Think about it. Would the gratuity be worth it if target of your grace got killed?
Thank you,

Kimberly Kennedy