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The car tells it all

Gary Lindstrom

I am writing this to protect the 99 percent of drivers in Summit County from the other 1 percent.

It is a dangerous place out there on the highways and byways, and I need to share this with you to protect you from personal injury and property-damage accidents. This is my personal primer you can memorize to warn you of the danger signs bad drivers display.

Look out for the driver who did not put the stickers on her license plate in the proper place. Obviously, this person does not follow instructions very well and probably will not know what the traffic signs say. Summit County Motor Vehicles even includes a drawing to show people how to put the stickers on the plates. They go on the lower right and lower left of the rear plate. I have seen them on the front plate and, many times, on the upper part of the license.

Look for front-end damage. This person has poor reaction time and has slammed into the rear end of another car or a brick wall. In either case, you need to give this driver a wide berth.

Look for rear-end damage. The person either was hit by the front-end guy or backed into another car. Either way, there is a possibility these persons are accident-prone or have bad car karma and should be avoided.

Look for any old damage. A car with old damage means the driver does not have insurance or does not care about fixing his/her car. Very scary. Imagine how he will feel about the damage he causes on your car. He won’t care about that, either.

Look out for the guy with the cracked windshield. You can tell if the windshield is bad when you see the driver listing to the side in order to see the road around the cracks.

When you see a car without a brake light or signal light, back off. You can never tell when this person is going to do anything. Of course, the driver may not even be using the turn signal.

A car with one headlight is much the same. When you flash your lights at that car, he turns on the brights to get both lights on. DUI enforcement officers love these folks. Probable cause for traffic stop. Hope it makes them want to get both lights fixed.

One of the latest indicators of rotten drivers is the reflective cover for the license plate so the number will not appear on photo radar. Give them lots of room. Apparently, they do not care about speeding laws.

Some people at the state legislature fought to keep photo radar out of the hands of the police. One of the people opposed to the law was known by the State Patrol between Summit County and Denver as “Rocket Man,” and it was not because he could sing like Elton John. A judge ruled photo radar unconstitutional, but it is allowed under a new law in some areas, such as school zones.

I have mixed feelings about radar detectors. I have never owned one, but I have traveled with friends who had them. They go off every 10 seconds, so I would have to say they actually make drivers observe speed limits in most cases.

Last but not least: Do not park your car in a department store or grocery store parking lot. Take public transportation. If you drive your car, you might avoid all of the drivers I have described and you still might come out to find a shopping cart has T-boned your car right where everyone will see the damage. Now, everyone will think you are a bad driver because of your new dent.

Gary Lindstrom is a Summit County commissioner and regular columnist for the Summit Daily News.


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