Is it me or am I the only one whose personality changes when I get behind the wheel of a car these days? I start out with every good intention, but you know what they say about that.
“Be kind; be thoughtful; be patient,” I tell myself as I turn on the ignition. That lasts about five minutes.
I can’t even get down the street before someone cuts out in front of me, fails to yield the right of way or passes me because I’m driving the speed limit. How dare I?
And this is in Sun City Center!
Some of the worst offenders are golf cart drivers, many of whom seem to feel they own the road. They think nothing of driving in the center of the street, even when there’s a perfectly fine (and empty) golf cart path available or flipping you off when you try to wave them over.
State Road 674 is a parking lot at certain times of the day, and it’s becoming more common for drivers to ride bumper to bumper. Can you tell me why it’s so important for driver after driver to inch up as close as possible to the car in front of them as they wait for a stoplight to change or the line at McDonald’s to move forward? Is saving a few seconds worth a rear-end pile-up?
Sad to say, things are only going to get worse, folks. Thousands upon thousands of homes are slated for construction all over our neck of the woods. And guess what, all these homes will have cars connected to them. They’ll be joining us as they head east or west to U.S. 301, U.S. 41 and I-75.
Driving anywhere in our area is becoming a zoo these days. School’s back in session, snowbird season is approaching, and everyone and their brother is moving to Florida. I swear, sometimes it seems they’re all ending up here in southern Hillsborough County.
There are long lines of cars creeping at a snail’s pace in some places, and long lines of others using community roads as highways, making it almost impossible to make left-hand turns. I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes simply trying to turn north from Flamingo Drive or Miller Mac Road onto U.S. 41 in Apollo Beach.
It takes the patience of a saint to venture out these days. You take your life in your hands every time you do. I used to enjoy driving. Not so much anymore. So leave a bit earlier, take some deep breaths, pray – whatever works to get us to our destinations safely. When we’re on the road, everyone’s life depends on it.
Lois Kindle is a freelance writer and columnist for The Observer News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.