By HDN staff
With winter upon us, even more care is needed when driving the streets of Havre. Streets may not be as icy this year as in past winters, but many intersections are still slippery, and traffic accidents always seem to jump up, especially with the first snowfall.
Many drivers show great caution and courtesy when driving in town, and we applaud them. We have especially noticed the courtesy, and the obeying of laws, of people stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks. Even on the busy routes of Fifth Avenue and First Street, people regularly stop for pedestrians.
It would be nice to see more people obeying other seemingly minor laws. It seems to be a common practice to pass on the right when someone is trying to turn left. That seems like a small matter, but it is against the law. It might not seem such a small matter if someone coming the other way decides to turn left and runs into you head-on, either. Surely a delay of a few seconds while waiting for someone to turn left isn't such a big deal.
There also seems to be confusion about right-of-way at uncontrolled intersections. It's a simple rule; the person farthest to the right has the right-of-way. Of course, it might be a good idea to be sure everyone at an intersection knows this and is obeying it before you drive through. Being correct about it will be small consolation if you have to find a new vehicle to use when someone runs into yours.
There aren't that many right turn lanes on Havre's streets, and they are generally clearly marked. There isn't one on the eastbound lane of First Street at the Fifth Avenue stop light. There also aren't any at the four-way stop signs on Third Avenue. Some drivers seem to think that there are, however, and create a new lane if they want to turn right at these spots when the car in front of them isn't. This could be a problem if the person to their left decides to turn right, or simply didn't have their turn signal on.
While even a slight delay in traffic can be extremely irritating, it's not as irritating as being in an accident. Care and obeying the traffic laws can go a long way towards reducing fender benders, and even serious injury causing accidents. Especially on slippery, snow-packed streets using caution, courtesy, and obeying the law can greatly improve traffic safety.
We applaud those who do obey laws and use caution and courtesy in driving. For those who sometimes slip a little, we say: Let's be careful out there.