Dear Tell All: I can sympathize with Defensive Driver, who wrote you to complain about the crazy Madison drivers who don't stop for pedestrians in the crosswalks ("The Hell of Madison Crosswalks," 12/5/2013). I moved here from Chicago, and I expected a more small-town style of driving to go with the other small-town pleasures. No such luck. Sometimes Madison drivers actually make me long for Lake Shore Drive at rush hour.
There's one thing I can say about Chicago drivers: Most of them don't seem to want to kill you (though they might easily do so by accident). In Madison, I often feel that drivers don't really care. They're much more concerned about making their right turn at a stoplight, pedestrians be damned. They're also much more concerned about zooming out from behind a car waiting to make a turn in a left lane, no matter what's happening in the right lane. You'd think that simple self-preservation would prevent a lot of this behavior, but Madison drivers don't appear to care about killing themselves, either!
One of my pet peeves is local drivers who don't wait their turns at intersections with stop signs. If you're not inclined to be obnoxiously aggressive, you can wait forever to take your turn. And often, when you do, another driver will play chicken with you in the middle of the intersection, daring you to keep going.
Maybe I need to move to an even smaller town than Madison. I wonder how they drive in Tomah.
That Guy in the Silver Accord
Dear Tell All: It's like the dog that didn't bark in the night. People never seem to notice stuff that might have happened but didn't.
Take driving in Madison, for example. Sure, it's easy to notice students heedlessly strolling out into traffic (behavior generally augmented by the very real little voices in their heads, electronically supplied) or motorists narrowly missing mowing down grannies in clearly marked crosswalks pushing baby buggies, but when was the last time you heard a car horn in town? You can go months in blissful peace between blares. We're barely past Thanksgiving, and already we're forgetting to be grateful for the little things.
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