Monday, March 26, 2007

Hey you, with the cell phone, the Big Gulp, the screaming kids in the car seats - better pay attention to the road. Someone is looking for you, and they've got a ticket pad as thick as a phone book.

Yes, it's time for the annual ''Road Respect” mobilization, when state and local police pop up in greater numbers to nip aggressive and distracted driving in the bud. The bust-fest is playing through April 8.

''You see crazy stuff every day,” said Sgt. Carol MacDonald of the State Police public affairs unit.

In her years on wheels, MacDonald formulated a theory about the one thing that would make highways safer: ''Just get out of the left lane,” she said.

''Somebody comes up behind you - maybe they are speeding - but the smart thing to do, and the thing that cuts down on aggression, is to move over to the right and let them go.”

That simple move can help eliminate those awful moments when normal citizens turn into Incredible Hulks, swollen with road rage. That simple action, ''let them go,” can reduce dangerous and disturbing high-speed vigilante tangos.

''Don't worry about the speed someone else is going,” MacDonald said.

''It's not your job. If you want to report someone driving at high speed, call 911.”

Oh, and by the way, obscene gestures don't seem to help resolve road disputes. Go figure.

Because there will be more uniformed-types around over the next few weeks, Sgt. MacDonald was asked what really aggravated camped-out patrol officers.

''Multiple lane changes get you,” she said. ''That really is dangerous.”

A by-product of the increased enforcement activity during the Road Respect campaign is more arrests for other stuff.

''A bigger net is going to catch more fish,” acknowledged MacDonald, who said you may pull someone over for a broken headlight and find they have a warrant out for their arrest.

''Or you smell dope in the car.”

That will do it just about every time.

Amazing... she actually said, " Just get out of the left lane." Amen.

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