Editorial: Out-of-Town Drivers Less Than Courteous
Have you encountered bad behavior by out-of-state motorists on Route 412 in Hellertown or Bethlehem? Tell us about your observations in the comments section.
If you live and work in Hellertown, you're among the fortunate ones. Your lifestyle means you probably don't have to fight the Route 412 traffic in and out of the borough all too often.
For those of us who do regularly sit in traffic along this overcrowded corridor, however, it would seem the patience of saints is required--especially now that schools are open again and there's even more "hustle and bustle."
One recent afternoon as I headed north out of Hellertown, my patience was tested by a motorist whose behavior seems all too common based on my (unscientific) observations as a motorist who can hardly avoid the road (much as I try).
As I headed north into Bethlehem--beyond the point where Shimersville Road splits off--I was in the left lane approaching Lynn Avenue.
I was tired after a long day, and the pre-Labor Day weekend traffic was heavy.
As I approached the turn-off to the casino, at a point where the road narrows from two lanes to one, traffic slowed and I turned on my signal in order to move into the right lane.
The woman in the car behind me, however, didn't want to let me over, although there was plenty of space in front of her vehicle and behind mine.
As I moved into the right lane I saw her agitatedly gesticulate in my rearview mirror. She may have actually "gestured" in a not-so-nice way, but because of the heavy tint on her New Jersey-plated vehicle's windows, I couldn't say for sure.
When I saw that, I felt the blood rush to my face. "This person is headed to the casino," I thought to myself. "The slots are still going to be there, so what's her rush?"
I stared at her in the rearview mirror and sure enough, as we drove past the casino entrance, she and the elderly passenger in her vehicle pulled into the Sands.
Part of me wanted to follow her and say, "Why not be a little more courteous? After all, you are a guest in our area."
I think my words would have fallen on deaf ears. But maybe I would have felt a little better.
Was I guilty of road rage for thinking such a thought? No, I really don't think so. I would simply say that I am a human, and frustrated by the cumulative effects of encountering too many motorists who drive like they "own the roads" in this neck of the woods.
Ever since the Sands opened, I have observed more obnoxious behavior by motorists in cars with out-of-state plates than ever before. And yes, New Jersey and New York seem to be the biggest offenders.
Are all Pennsylvanians saints behind the wheel? No, of course not. We have our share of ding-a-lings. But most of us are not exactly using the roads by choice, either. We're using them because we live here; because we have to get to work, to school, or to a doctor's appointment.
I'm not saying we should have priority over out-of-towners, but we should at least be treated with the courtesy that every motorist deserves.
Perhaps as PennDOT continues its work to improve the 412 corridor between the I-78 interchange and the Sands, they will consider installing signage that reminds all motorists to "share the road" and drive considerately. Stepped up enforcement by local police along the length of the corridor couldn't hurt either.
It's going to be a long three years, though.