ROAD RANTS

Designated turn lanes, emergency vehicles and the blissfully ignorant

2013-07-20T00:00:00Z Designated turn lanes, emergency vehicles and the blissfully ignorantBy Ben Brickman AUTO OUTRAGE CONTRIBUTOR nwitimes.com
July 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It is always good to know that someone is listening. I mentioned the ambulance that could not get through the intersection because the light refused to change and the drivers at U.S. Hwy 30 and Broadway refused to stop and let him through in my July 6th column. I did not know what a big reaction I would get. First, I was told by an “Emergency Medical Technician” that EMTs are not the same as ambulance drivers. The EMT explained that there are two technicians to a rig who take turns with the driving. Second, a different “Emergency Medical Technician” told me that only on certain ambulances are equipped with Opticom devices. Then Jessica from INDOT called me and let me know that Indiana only places the traffic-light-interrupting-devices on intersections when requested by the municipalities and the cities are required to pay for them. Well, I feel better now that this is so much clearer---not!

I still believe it is in the public interest to have these devices on all emergency vehicles and all traffic controls. The fact is that drivers wait for the light to change when they hear the sirens. Otherwise they continue to speed through intersections in an effort to beat the ambulance, oblivious to everything and probably still on their damn cell phone. Could the fine people we elect to run our municipalities require these devices as part of the agreement with the emergency service providers? I can only imagine the fortune it costs for an emergency trip to the hospital and it is not unreasonable to expect that these transfers are as safe as possible. The next part of this would be for police to enforce the laws that are on the books concerning pulling over and/or stopping for an emergency vehicle. Lives are at stake; we can do better.

Several weeks ago I asked for reader submission for a Rant Bumper Sticker that we could mail to those who love to rant! I've got to admit, you’re disappointing me. C’mon help me dream something up beside ”I RANT.” The winner can get their picture in the paper too.

Rant 1: Heaven forbid, I made a boo-boo last week and several ranters called me on it. (I have not been hearing any love this week.) I was told to “get my facts straight” and some other things I cannot repeat. I am going to go cry! Eh, maybe not.

All right, for the record, the intersection at U.S. Hwy. 30 and Taft in Merrillville has right hand “Turn optional” lanes for the east/ west bound traffic. In that regard, I confess, I was wrong. Yes, it is perfectly legal to stop in those marked lanes and then go straight. Yes, you can plug them up. What the h**l, add to the congestion! Don’t allow people to make a right and go where they need to go. Go ahead, speed forward and pass people because, well, you are special. You could ignore that it is common for faster cars to stay in the far left lanes, that you will move back over to the left lanes to avoid incoming cars, and the rest of us can still think you are selfish, sweaty swine! There is an old saying that goes something like this…”When you throw a rock into a pack of dogs, the one that yelps is the one that has been hit.”

Rant 2: That said, I have seen plenty of occasions where the turn only lanes all around NWI are abused the same way. I still would like to see tickets given to the boneheads who pull up in those lanes and then burn rubber to pass the entire group of motorists waiting patiently on the right. Recently I observed a driver headed west on U.S. Hwy. 30 and Calumet in Dyer, who nearly slammed into the bank because the another driver in the westbound slow lane punched it, leaving the moron with nowhere to go. There isn't any excuse good enough to justify this driver's behavior. Leave five minutes earlier. That way you don’t have to endanger everyone else on the road. If you insist on killing yourself, plan a method with zero collateral damage. Wait! No! Don’t do that either! I'm kidding!

It’s Audience Participation Time...Have a Dimwit Driver alert? Got an idea for a bumper sticker? Did I miss something? Great! Send it to: RoadRants@nwi.com. You can also call the RANT LINE at 219-933-1010. Leave your message. Include all the details. We will work it into the paper. We are also on Facebook, NWI Road Rants. Until next time, be safe. No one else is.

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