Lane Ranger for Monday, June 23, 2003

Dear Lane Ranger: While waiting on Davis Ford this morning (around 5:15 a.m.) to proceed west toward Manassas, I noticed that the cemetery to my left was the only beneficiary of the green light and arrow.?

After a minute or two, the light turned green for me and I once again proceeded.

Thinking about this, it seems odd that a cemetery would have any reason to require a signal dedicated just to it. Truthfully, had something come across that intersection from one of those graves, I probably would have made an abrupt U-turn and headed for either home, church or the hospital, forgetting about work altogether.

?So, I guess what I am asking is, why is that light allowed to cycle a green signal to the cemetery, while Bacon Race and Davis Ford traffic stop and wait for something to appear from where? Eternity?

?So I need to know in a situation like this, who you gonna call — Ghost Busters or VDOT?

— Brad Wootten, Woodbridge

Dear Brad: The Virginia Department of Transportation has remedied this problem at least once already. Evidently the trouble is recurrent. Makes you wonder though, being next to a graveyard and everything.

The Lane Ranger forwarded your letter to VDOT. They will surely reset the timing again.

Dear Lane Ranger: I drive on U.S. 1, every morning, Monday through Friday, and I’m seeing more and more drivers using the turn lane, by PepBoys, to bypass traffic. They normally start at the Jeep car dealership and end up at the traffic light by Longview. They all have their turn signal on but they never seem to make a turn. I was just wondering if this is legal.

— Commuter

Dear Commuter: This question appears regularly in letters to the Lane Ranger.

It is illegal to do that.

Detective Dennis Mangan said Prince William police will ticket people if they catch them breaking the law at that intersection.

Dear Lane Ranger: Speed should be enforced in all school zones. However as I drive by Woodbridge Senior High every morning, the danger presented by the speed of the vehicles is secondary to the casual defiance of the walking students as they cross a divided highway against the light or?emerging from the woods.?

Speed will not cause a tragedy, but a slowly strolling teen wandering in the lanes will.?

The police need to ticket the students, not the drivers.

— David Leckrone, Woodbridge

Dear David: As it turns out, slow-moving pedestrians can be ticketed for interference if they take too much time getting across the road.

“On crossing highways,” Detective Dennis Mangan, Prince William police, read from the traffic code, “pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles.”

“They shall cross wherever possible at an intersection or a marked crosswalk,” he concluded.

“That’s why the light’s there, at the high school, for the kids to cross,” he said.

Mangan said strolling across a highway in “casual defiance” is indeed “careless and malicious interference.”

Police can administer attitude adjustments, in the form of tickets, to dawdling students who don’t have any better sense than to challenge 2,000-pound moving vehicles on a four-lane divided roadway.

Dear Lane Ranger: When traveling down Cardinal Road to turn right onto Minnieville, there are now two lanes turning right and have been for a while. It is my concern that many people in the far right lane have forgotten the rule in driving. When turning left or right you turn into the left or right lane.

It infuriates me when people just make that turn not even paying attention to the fact there are people beside them and just shoot across all 3 lanes and continue on like they have every right to do that. ?

I have had many near misses because of the inconsideration of others. I would be really surprised if there have not been a few accidents there.?

Do you think that you can remind drivers about that simple rule??

If you are in the right lane, then turn into the right lane, and if you are in the center lane turning right you should be turning to the center lane. ?

— Renee Gheen

Dear Renee: Detective Dennis Mangan, Prince William police said you are correct and police will punish the inconsiderate lane hoggers when they catch them misbehaving.

“That’s an improper turn, Mangan said. “You turn from the right lane into the right lane. You turn from the center lane into the center lane. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

To do otherwise, Mangan said, will accrue points on the miscreant’s license if police catch them in their wrongdoing.

“It’s a moving violation.” he said.

Please send questions or comments on transportation to: Lane Ranger, c/o Potomac News, P.O. Box 2470, Woodbridge, VA 22195; fax: (703) 878-8099; e-mail to: [email protected]; or by phone: (703) 878-8062.