By Mark A. Leon
Driving and traffic have become a hot bed of water cooler conversation in the last several years in the Charleston area due to the unorthodox population growth we have been experiencing. Depending on whom you ask, we are going between 40 and 100 new residents a day into Charleston County and beyond. Needless to say, with any growth, there are “growing pains” and one of them is increased traffic and a challenging infrastructure that needs to find solutions to our our road layout and the increasing number of vehicles.
There are ways, as drivers we can help provide a safer, environmentally sound and more courteous experience on the roadways.
We would like to provide a few reminders of some of the proper and improper behaviors.
Charleston area driver lessons and recommendations:
- Don’t throw cigarette butts out your window – Please do not discard your cigarette butts out of your window. This is our home. You may think one or two or three a day does not make a difference, especially when they are tossed from different parts of town or on the highways, but let us put that in perspective for a moment. What if 10,000 people threw out two a day. That is 20,000 cigarettes littering our roads, sideways, marshland, rivers and the list goes on. Even one is bad for the environment.
- Stop signs are not optional – Often times, we see stop signs that seem inappropriate or there is rarely a need to stop because there isn’t traffic coming from the other direction or often at all. That does not give a driver the option to roll through. You may miss a pedestrian or unexpected vehicle and cause more harm than good. Please respect the law of the stop sign and come to a complete stop.
- Blinkers helps other drivers understand your actions on the roadway – Unfortunately, our population does not use blinkers often enough. On the Crosstown or the Cooper River Bridge, where cars are moving quickly from lane to lane as the road curves, there are many hazards that can potentially be avoided if blinkers are used. Blinkers provide drivers behind you an expectation of your next move and allow them to plan ahead to avoid any likely accidents.
- Yield to pedestrians signs are law, not optional – If you are in a high pedestrian area and you see a yield to pedestrian sign, it is required law that you stop as a driver. Most wait to see if a pedestrian makes a first move, then they slow down. They should not have to take the risk and hope you stop. If you see a pedestrian crossing sign and people at the corner, slow down and let them know you will stop for them so they are comfortable to cross the road.
- The speed limit is in fact a limit – Often times I will find myself on the James Island Connector or the Cooper River Bridge being doing 5 miles an hour over the speed limit on cruise control and having every single car pass me with some exceeding the speed limit by 15 – 20 miles an hour. Unfortunately, we do not have the law enforcement capacity to stop everyone that puts other drivers in harms way with their excessive speeding and drivers know that. Use a little common road courtesy and not drive others off the road.
- Texting at stop lights is bad – We all know it is against the law to text and drive. We are reminded constantly on the radio and billboards. For some, their lives are so important they have to text at every stop sign. Here is the issue. With increased traffic, every second counts at a stop light or turn signal light. When you are at the head of the line and the light turns green to turn and you are finishing a text, 4 – 5 seconds go by before you react and that causes two cars to miss the turn and cause a further back up. Wait until you reach your destination please.
There you have it. Six little reminders to promote a safe, courteous and environmentally sound driving experience here in the Charleston area.