Idiocy on the roads is too common |

Idiocy on the roads is too common

Jamie Bate
Sierra Sun

It’s amazing how normally mild-mannered people can turn into impatient, rude caricatures as soon as they wrap their hands around a steering wheel. Cue the film many of us saw in school of Goofy teaching driving etiquette and you know what I’m talking about. (And if you don’t have a clue, then you’re too young!)

I’m not one to cast aspersions, but lately I’ve seen some idiot, or should I say goofy, drivers on our roads and highways. And, unfortunately, the paper has run several stories in the last few weeks about fatal accidents on Interstate 80, which isn’t funny at all.

One would think that impatient driving behavior would melt away once motorists ” either visitors or locals ” hit the roads in the mountains. It’s not like the highways here are the Bayshore Freeway on the San Francisco Peninsula or Business 80 in Sacramento, places that at peak commute hours will cause anyone’s blood pressure to spike.

But even with our beautiful forest-lined roads and calming scenery, stupid driving goes on. Highway 89 south is the place where my blood pressure usually gets goosed. Apparently, there are 46 other people out there who feel the same way, according to the Sierra Sun’s informal ” and admittedly unscientific ” Web poll.

On that stretch of highway 89 between Tahoe City and Truckee I’ve seen the most impatient drivers. It’s also the highway on which a fatal case of road rage started last year.

Yes, Lake Tahoe is a beautiful sight, but my guess is that visitors who’ve just got a weekend to spend there might think it won’t be around by the time they arrive. That urgency to get to the lake before it evaporates leads to speeding, tailgating and unsafe passing. I don’t know how many times I’ve said to myself, “If I was a cop…” as some guy pulling a boat with a monster pick-up truck passed me on a double yellow line only to move up two car lengths.

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But for as many of the people on the Sierra Sun Web Poll who thought Highway 89 south was populated by dumb drivers, Interstate 80 was the dubious winner. Eighty-three voters picked I-80 as the place where they encounter dangerous drivers.

As one voter commented, “Please slow down. That extra two minutes you save rushing around town and tailgating isn’t worth anyone getting hurt ” or worse!”

I couldn’t agree more.

Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at