by Leslee Kulba
Wild West blogger
The local daily published a human interest story on “pedestrian rights.”
“It’s not OK to mow people down in a crosswalk, even if you’ve got a light,” [Nona Martin] Stuck said. “There’s a Southern car culture mindset that’s got to change.”
Stuck was damaged by a car and ticketed on top of her hospital bills for failing to yield the right of way to a motorist. Now, I wasn’t there, so I can’t say who was at fault, but the comment about the “Southern car culture mindset” caused me to recall a list of rules of the road an EMT friend and I developed twenty years ago.
I commuted about an hour a day on Highway 63, and she was familiar with the road from rescue efforts. It was off that road that I one day drove into a ditch to avoid a dude playing Dukes of Hazzard, whipping around a blind corner in the wrong traffic lane.
The most obvious rule was what to do when another motorist turned on a “blinker.” For amateur drivers, it meant, “Hurry up and pass me on this side.” For more advanced drivers, it was a signal to “Ride this corner.” For those Yankees out there, riding one’s corner is the practice of staying close enough to a car that they cannot safely enter your traffic lane, speeding and slowing as necessary.
Another rule was to look both ways before entering the highway from a side street, wait until an oncoming vehicle was close enough to require braking to avoid hitting you, and then jump out in front of him. Locals will affirm this is a legitimate practice. If they can’t see a vehicle behind a mountain, they cannot gauge its velocity.
My friend said people got points for dinner table conversations according to who could get the most cars to trail behind them. Emergency vehicles with lights flashing were worth three points each, which brings us to the most important rule of the road. For whatever reason, people in these parts do not like to move aside for emergency vehicles. Anybody who has suffered a heart attack, a near-death experience, or perhaps been pinned by heavy machinery; knows the pain of ten more seconds of response time. Now, if we give equal time, we can add minutes of agony and brain and tissue damage, and possibly cause death if we do not help the emergency vehicles get where they need to go. I was taught that flashing lights meant a brother or sister was in distress.