It was an interesting day in Minnesota. A little bit of snow today after a few spring-like days was fraught with accidents. Nothing serious but the body shops will get a bit more winter business it would appear.
I spent some time this morning driving around town to check out the road conditions. I thought it might be beneficial to share my experiences with you. I suspect many of you will relate to my experiences and several of you might recognize yourselves.
Those of you guilty of the following list of various faux pas actions can be grateful that our officers were too busy for me to call over to make a traffic stop and the vehicle I was driving was without emergency warning lights.
At about 7:45 a.m., I was stopped at Jefferson Parkway and 246 where I saw a vehicle slide through the intersection because they were going way too fast. The driver was somewhat surprised at the event but didn't seem to feel the need to stop talking on the cell phone. Perhaps she was calling her insurance agent or a mechanic to advise them she just found out that SUVs don't stop very well on wet, slick road surfaces when traveling 50 miles per hour in a school zone.
At about 8:00 a.m., I watched a semi tractor trailer going way too fast blow the traffic light at County Road 1 and Highway 3. Given the fact that MnDot was kind enough to put up those flashing lights warning of the impending signal change, I just didn't see any reason to not stop for the light. It would have been helpful if the driver had been traveling the speed limit.
At about 8:05 a.m., I watched a car blow the stop sign at Riverview and Highway 3. It shot out of the driveway of the Ranch House Restaurant and never looked back as it forced a car to move into another lane as it proceeded to go northbound on 3.
After a short meeting at the Ranch House, I went out to check the roads again. As I was traveling north on Highway 3 in traffic moving the speed limit. I had a motorist behind me flashing their lights and tailgate me. Apparently traveling the speed limit was an inconvenience. I was amazed that the person could light a cigarette, talk on a cell phone, steer his car and still find time to honk the horn and flash his lights at me. I did figure that perhaps the out of state plate on the vehicle from points far south of Minnesota might have had something to do with it.
At about 8:40 a.m. I watched a person make a u-turn in the middle of the 400 block of Division Street requiring both directions of traffic to wait for them to get done.
I watched this same car fail to yield to a pedestrian in the crosswalk at 5th and Division, and yes, you guessed it, they were talking on a cell phone the whole time.
At 8:50 a.m, I watched what must have been three alpha male drivers challenge each other at the 4-way stop at Woodley and Division. Fortunately, they managed to dodge each other through the intersection.
I had a 9:00 a.m. appointment so I made my way back to the office and shared my concerns with a few of my friends who do wear uniforms and drive cars with red and blue lights on them who were at the Safety Center.
I would like to thank the many, many drivers who took the time to not only drive for themselves this morning, but also drive for the other drivers I described above. Fortunately, our good drivers still substantially outnumber the not-so-good ones.
This is an excellent opportunity to put in a mention of our future attempts to start addressing the increasing problem with aggressive driving in Northfield. In light of the future construction and detours, we are looking at various education and enforcement strategies that I will be introducing here in the weeks to come. The intent is to help facilitate smooth traffic flow while maintaining the safety and integrity of the various neighborhoods. Most of you will probably never notice us much unless you are one of the folks I described above. If so, I suspect you will be seeing some red lights in your rear view mirror and a citation in your hand some time in the not-so-distant future.