Road Rants: Free-Roaming Fidos are unsafe at any speed

2013-08-03T00:00:00Z Road Rants: Free-Roaming Fidos are unsafe at any speedBy Ben Brickman AUTO OUTRAGE CONTRIBUTOR
August 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It seems that many of you have favorite songs that drive you as you motor around Northwest Indiana. I received many responses to last weeks request for your favorite songs while driving. Some of your favorites are: “Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo” by Rick Derringer, “Evil Ways” by Santana, “Radar Love” by Golden Earring, “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, and of course, “Cheap Sunglasses” by ZZ Top. I will leave the balloting open for several more weeks to give you a chance to vote for your favorites.

Rant 1: A Dyer reader wrote in that he nearly killed a Spandex-clad cyclist when the light turned green at Columbia and Calumet in Munster and he pulled into the intersection. Apparently the traffic laws do not apply to Spandex Road Warriors, and maybe the laws of physics don't either. In the car-versus-bicycle contest, the car would be the victor, and the spandex would provide ineffective protection. The results would be…yucky. Hey Bikers, we don’t mind sharing the road if you don’t mind stopping at the red lights! Please.

Rant 2: We received more mail this week about the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 30 and Broadway in Merrillville. Yes, another motorist was ticketed for not seeing the No-Turn- On-Red sign for southbound Broadway. The sign is on a light pole and is obscured from view at certain times. Lynn wrote to Road Rants to explain that she was able to get her ticket reduced because the judge, familiar with the intersection, had mercy. Lynn has contacted both INDOT and U.S. Representative Pete Visclosky and got the same answer that the sign is posted properly.

When I inquired at INDOT, I was told that the light is scheduled for upgrade in October, 2014 and the new light will have a right turn arrow indicator. Until then, be warned, the sign is posted there and you can be cited for turning right on red at the intersection.

Rant 3: Russ from St. John sent in his Rant of the Highest Distinction, a real pet peeve. He can’t stand people who drive with their dogs in their laps. Russ, I agree, the dog should not be interfering, obstructing, or otherwise distracting the driver. Russ sent an article that appeared online at which claims one out of five drivers will let Fido sit on their lap. Some pet owners will even play fetch with their dog while they are driving. Two states are considering a banning lap-sitting dogs on the road.

Do drivers really need to be told by the state that this is dumb? On the subject of how widespread the problem is, the article says, “A 2010 survey from AAA has some pretty jarring numbers: 21 percent of drivers who transported their dogs in the last year said they let the pooch ride on their lap; seven percent said they'd fed or given water to the dog while driving, five percent admitted to playing with the dog while driving, and 31 percent said that the dog had distracted them, regardless of where it was in the car.”

The article stressed the danger. “An unrestrained 10-pound dog traveling at 50 miles per hour flies forward with 500 pounds of pressure in a crash, and an 80-pound dog at only 30 miles per hour packs a 2,400-pound punch,” says AAA spokeswoman Beth Mosher. "Imagine the devastation that can cause to your pet and anyone in the vehicle in its path." People, this is just plain crazy! There is no law in Indiana that prohibits this practice, except the law of common sense. Use some.

It’s Audience Participation Time...Have a Dimwit Driver alert? Got an idea for a bumper sticker? What tune drives you? Send it to: 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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