You may be one, you may be related to one, or you may count one among your friends or colleagues. We're referring to the many habitual and unabashed No U-Turn violators in Great Neck, and you know who you are. Well, the jig is up because, at long last, we're calling you to task!
We've been trying to figure out, literally, what "drives" you to do what you do. Could it be the fierce competition for parking in our business districts, that compels you to quite literally cut corners for that precious suddenly open parking spot across the street? Or perhaps you are personally protesting the infringement of the ubiquitous NO U-Turn signs on the beauty of our village landscape? Or could it be a game of "I dare you to catch me" directed at our nearly omnipresent traffic monitors who are just doing their job as rule-keepers?
Sadly, it seems that the time-honored riddle, "Why did the chicken cross the road?" should be rewritten for Great Neck as follows: "How did the chicken cross the road?" (pun intended). On our peninsula, the answer is often a disturbing one: "By making a U-turn."
Well, here's a news flash for all U-turn violators! This is not a game of how many U-Turns you can make without getting a citation. Ticket or no ticket, you are often caught "in the act" by concerned, non-official observers who may include your own passengers, other drivers and pedestrians, all of whom could be imperiled by your actions. You are also a cause of consternation to handicapped residents using electric mini-vehicles around town, the wheelchair-bound who are propelled by caretakers, and our decreasingly agile senior neighbors.
"What's the big deal about U-turns?" you may still ask. Following are examples of some dangerous situations the "No U-Turn" signs are intended to prevent.
Consider the plight of the pedestrian, perhaps a senior citizen, who carefully gauges a clear path to cross the street, only to be ambushed in midstream by your hurried U-turn from the other side. Or a just-parked driver opening their car door who is thrown off guard when you unexpectedly make a fast U-turn (has anyone ever seen a slow U-turn?) from across the street and glaze past their door. And think of the unsuspecting drivers who must jam on their brakes when you suddenly pull out of a parking space perpendicularly and cut across their lane to effect your U-turn mission.
Driving in an increasingly congested area such as ours, with simultaneously increasing automobile and senior citizen populations, calls for each motor vehicle operator to embrace a responsible personal philosophy that includes safe driving practices, allowing adequate time for travel and for finding parking, and basic consideration of the rights of other drivers and pedestrians. That's all it takes, and a little patience.
The bottom line is that it matters not whether you ever get "caught" with a traffic ticket officially reprimanding your violation of the No U-turn regulation. What really matters is that, on your own, you put the safety of this community ahead of your own need to win the race for a space or get somewhere faster, and make a commitment to not make U-turns.
If our readers know of a 12-step program for reforming habitual U-turn violators, we'd love to see it.
And just for the record, "No U-Turn Means You."