Friday, August 07, 2009

Seward Highway Tragedy

Once again, an accident on the Seward Hwy around Turnagain Arm has claimed some lives. Once again the victims were from the central Kenai peninsula - two teens from Soldotna this time. Condolences to the family and friends of these young men.

The drive to and from Anchorage has always been a game of Russian roulette. Over the years the road has been widened and straightened. Passing lanes have been put in and additional troopers occasionally patrol this stretch. Time and several tons of money will be needed to widen the road and maybe create a divided highway in that section.

But the uncontrollable factor is the individual driver and how do you prevent someone from making an idiotic decision? Maybe passing in no-passing zones along certain areas should become a felony. Maybe have troopers arrest the unsafe passer on the spot and place offenders in the pokey. That might get the message through to folks.

Until something changes, the best bet is to drive defensively. Don't tailgate as you wait for a place to pass and then let the moron who tried to pass back in the traffic lane. Expect an on-coming car to be in your lane every time you come around a bend.

And just don't be in a hurry.


Anonymous said...

And maybe, just maybe, if you're one of the people driving down the highway doing 40-45 in the 55 or 65 zones texting, talking, sightseeing or whatever the hell it is that you're doing, just maybe consider pulling over to let the long string of traffic behind you pass. Because you are just as guilty of causing some of these accidents as the people who are passing you.

Souldotna said...

I agree that those who are driving below the posted speed limits should be aware of those following behind and should pull over to let the traffic pass. I get annoyed at those who go slowly for most of the drive and then speed up when the road straightens and a clear passing opportunity does happen.

But I can't see how slow drivers are just as guilty as causing accidents as the boneheads that try to pass in no-passing zones. That's like justifying beating your spouse because s/he said something you didn't like. People are responsible for their own behavior. No one makes someone pass when it is dangerous except the person who does the passing. The 15 minutes that might be saved just isn't worth it. If someone is in that much of a rush, just leave earlier and enjoy the scenery if you get stuck behind a slowpoke.

However, I can see how a tailgater who doesn't yield some space for a passer to get back into the flow of traffic can share the guilt of an accident. I know that I slow the hell down whenever someone passes be around a blind curve - especially if I am in the middle of a long line of traffic. And more than once, the offending passer has used that space to get out of the way of oncoming traffic.

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