Jeff Bryan head shot

Jeff Bryan

I stumbled upon a meme recently posted on a social media channel that made me chuckle. It stated: “The Lord moves in mysterious ways, but you don’t have to. Please use your blinker.”

One issue that frequently arises in Letters to the Editor, Sound Off and citizen complaints is that of speeding, aggressive drivers and the inability of most motorists to signal.

All of them are issues, not just in Citrus County, but also the state. One would almost believe NASCAR officials and team owners are seeking new talent, scouting area roadways and highways. NASCAR drivers don’t have a requirement to use turn signals; their cars aren’t even equipped with them.

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One has to wonder if turn signals are an “option” in most vehicles on the roadways, with motorists’ inability to utilize them. I’ve been guilty of it on a number of occasions. My children – the older two who will be driving within the next few years – often correct me when I don’t use that handy turn signal.

But my chief complaint isn’t the lack of drivers using their turn signal device; it’s their inability to use their rear view and side mirrors. They have also become optional when purchasing these newer, well-equipped vehicles.

As the offspring of a career firefighter, the biggest driving lesson my father ever gave my sister, brother and myself was, if you see an emergency vehicle approaching or behind you (hence, said rear view and side mirrors), pull over. His lesson was much more “colorful,” but for those at home, it’s been toned down.

It was the underlying punishment that reverberated. Growing up in a small, northeastern Kansas community, my parents seemingly knew everyone in the community. There wasn’t much we could get away with.

So what I witnessed the previous week on the road as I motored my way into the office made my blood boil. A glance in my rearview mirror, I saw the blue light special — not the Kmart special mind you, the Florida Highway Patrol emergency — wending its way through traffic. I pulled over to the side of the road, as did several others, and waited for the trooper to pass.

But the motorists in front of him paid him no mind. It took too much time before motorists opted to give the trooper time to pass through.

If God had asked Moses to part traffic for emergency vehicles, he might have likely thrown his hands up and given up on the task.

It’s a vexing issue that might not ever be solved, and what makes it worse is lawmakers such as Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, who is proposing a bill (SB 960) that says motorists “may not continuously operate a motor vehicle in the furthermost left hand lane,” except when overtaking and passing other vehicles, preparing to exit roads or when directed by traffic-control devices.

If we cannot stop motorists from tailgating, failing to use turn signals and pulling over to make for emergency vehicles, how is it possible for FHP troopers and deputies to enforce this law?

Maybe it’s time that when motorists renew their licenses, they have to pass the same tests to earn the license as we did the first time out.

Contact Editor Jeff Bryan at jeff.bryan@chronicleonline.com or 352-564-2930.

Contact Executive Editor Jeff Bryan at 352-564-2930 or jeff.bryan@chronicleonline.com.

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