We're not going to re-hash the good-driver lessons that were likely burned into your memory from youth. However, in our profession we deal with traffic accidents and problems every day and wish to pass along some "requests" to those motoring in our area. In the coming years, the interchanges and exits along 270 for 71, 315 and 23 will be reconfigured. This work will be ongoing for many years. Please think of these requests as items that will help keep traffic moving, help keep you safe, and help everyone get along together on the road. These suggestions are based on 'bad driving' examples we observe every day - ways NOT to do things . . .
You know these drivers. They're the ones who are more important than everyone else. They ride the berm to pass stopped traffic. Go right up to the choke point when lanes are merging knowing "someone will let me in". They use "exit only" ramps on the freeway as throughways to pass slower traffic or avoid a merge down the road. They drive around emergency scenes after traffic has been instructed to stop for the sake of victims and emergency responders. The list goes on. Please be a hero to all, wait your turn, and observe common human decency. Nobody likes to wait, but sometimes it happens. Regardless of what your mother may have told you, you're not more important than everyone else.
We've mentioned this before and we're going to mention it again. As much as we try to "multi-task", doing so behind the wheel is not good. We understand cell phones are legal and that everyone has work to do. But trust us - it's a bad idea to be on the phone while driving. Additionally, there's a new problem we're encountering more and more frequently. When crews arrive on the scene of an accident, their first priority is to assess hazards and the number of injuries - they need to assure they have necessary help on the way. It's becoming very commonplace to find accident victims talking on cell phones on our arrival. Making matters worse, they often seem offended that we interrupt their conversations to gather necessary information. PLEASE, if an emergency responder is talking to you, your cell call needs to wait!
This is an old favorite when we're working an accident and manage to open a lane or 2 of traffic. We can almost guarantee that 75% or more of the cars that pass the site will slow down or stop to "see what happened". Driving is not a spectator sport! Pay attention to traffic and help us get things moving to reduce the possibility of additional accidents occurring due to the traffic upheaval. On one night during summer we responded to over 6 vehicle accidents on I-270 between 23 and Cleveland Avenue in less than an hour. They all occurred secondary to an initial response because drivers weren't paying attention and rear-ended stop and go traffic.
Know Where You Are
After we just complained about cell use, we realize they can be useful at times. We do receive calls for assistance on the freeway more quickly than if cell phones weren't so widespread. Unfortunately, approximately 60% of the calls we receive give poor or bad directions. If you're calling to report an accident, fire, or other problem on the road, we need the direction of travel and location. Telling us I-270 west bound between 71 and 23 narrows things down to a 2 mile stretch. Telling us I-270 near 23 gives us a search area of 6-8 miles. We've found accidents described this way as far away as 270 and Cleveland. Bad or vague directions result in delays because crews committing to a wrong direction of travel or exit may need 5-6 minutes to correct. If you are calling for help, take a deep breath, remain calm, and take a moment to think about exactly where you are. ODOT has placed signs all over 270, 315 and 71 describing locations and ramps. These makers are concise and helpful - use them if you see them.
As a reminder, if you have a minor accident or mechanical breakdown, get your vehicle as far off the roadway as possible.