There have been a few letters complaining about driving habits of drivers from outside the local area. I find this amusing, as, having lived on the East Coast, Rocky Mountains and West Coast, I have found Western North Carolina the least traffic-aware and most careless driving region I have lived and driven in.
These letters suggest that I “leave at home” some driving traits that appear to be illegal in the area — as in making full stops at stop signs, including when making a right turn at one or at a red light and always using turn signals before turning and/or changing lanes. I was not aware these are apparently illegal here, as 80 percent [or more] do not do the above. In order to better fit in here, I would have to discontinue these imported driving habits.
One letter complained about a line of cars tailgating on [Interstate] 26 approaching downtown but totally missed the point as to why this often happens. This is usually because there is a driver going significantly under the speed limit and who is not being held up by traffic immediately ahead — a very common occurrence here. Usually, on multilane roads you can go around — but not on most of the roads in the surrounding area. I don’t know if North Carolina has a law, as other states do, that require drivers who have more than four to five cars behind them on these roads to pull over in a safe spot. If so, it is also being ignored.
On a serious note with respect to turn signals: Not only is this the law and a reflection of common curtesy, but there is a hidden benefit for drivers. It goes back to traffic awareness, as in properly using turn signals. The driver will be more aware of traffic conditions and actually become a safer driver.
So before complaining about others’ driving habits, take a good, honest look in the mirror.
— G. Wurster