At a level FAR greater than in previous years, my family has been involved in several near-collisions in 2017, specifically in March and April. None of them involved the weather, and most of them took place in the daytime.

A majority fit into the category of the title, which I stole from the Monday traffic column in our local daily, compiled by Tim O’Brien. He, like several folks with the Times Union, is leaving for greener pastures after dealing with the parsimonious Hearst Corporation daily rag for years.

ITEM: The Wife is turning left; we’ll call her car A. The car facing her is also turning left, car 1. A vehicle behind her, NOT the car immediately back, but the car behind THAT, car 3, gets impatient with the wait, passes car 2 and 1 on the right. Car A sees car 2, but barely breaks in time in the turn to avoid getting hit by car 3.

ITEM: The Wife is turning left. The car facing her is also turning left, car 1. She doesn’t see, but I do, the bicycle passing car 1 on the right. If I hadn’t called it to her attention, it was likely that she would have T-boned bike 2, the rider of which, BTW, was not wearing a helmet.

ITEM: I’m riding my bike, going straight ahead; I’m vehicle A. Car 1, signaling left, is patiently yielding the right of way to vehicle A. Car 2, however, is having nothing to do with THAT, and passes car 1 on the LEFT, across the crosswalk and practically into my path before slamming on its brakes. As it tuns out, it was a nice day, and car 2 had its windows down. I had some choice, albeit repeatable, words for that driver.

Not all the near-collisions involved left turns. The Wife was turning right from a one-way street onto a two-way. But the driver coming from our right apparently thought he too was on a one-way, because he wasn’t staying right. IF she hadn’t aborted the turn at the last moment, we would have hit him for sure. The Daughter, in the back seat, got pretty shook up about this, and understandably so.

There are a couple other traffic examples in recent months, but you get the gist. As Phil Esterhaus used to say, “Be careful out there!”

3 Responses to “Don’t pass a car that’s waiting to turn left”

  • SamuraiFrog says:

    I’m just glad everyone is alright! This kind of situation is why I’m passenger-only now. Reminds me of my sixteenth birthday, when my Dad took me and my sister to Planet Hollywood in Chicago. He was waiting to turn left off Grand Avenue, I believe, under the L, and a cab driver just blew through the light coming up behind my Dad. He passed my Dad on the left just as my Dad was turning; knocked out the guy’s window, but everyone was fine. Shook me up slightly, but it happened so fast and suddenly with relatively little impact. A police officer was right there and saw the whole thing; we went to the station, and my Dad was PISSED, but he worked it out and we went to the restaurant. I see the location in TV shows and movies sometimes and remember the time someone tried to pass my Dad on the left while he was literally making a left turn. People.

  • Isn’t it like really strange that we drive these big monstrous machines around at high speeds? And isn’t it strange that wrecking them, getting hurt or dying while driving them around like that is a rare event?

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