This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Why drivers in Phoenix, Arizona are so dangerous

I learned to drive in Minneapolis, Minnesota and came of age, in my twenties, in Los Angeles, California. But I've lived in Phoenix, Arizona most of my life now, and there is no doubt in my mind that Phoenix drivers are the worst I've ever seen. But try to understand, they come by that way honestly. Please let me explain.

The weather is almost always beautiful and clear in Phoenix. There is very little rain, absolutely no snow, and definitely no ice. So people who have always driven in Phoenix, or people who have driven in Phoenix for a long time, have almost no experience driving in bad weather conditions. Sure, there's the occasional rainstorm, or the visit to Flagstaff to drive in the snow, but for the most part, the streets in Phoenix are clear, open, dry, and flat, and drivers get used to that.

And part of the blame goes to the street designers in Phoenix. With the best of intentions, they created absolutely enormous, wide-as-a-football-field streets that are beautifully maintained and have every conceivable safety feature. So going only 40 miles an hour on what appears to be a freeway surface just feels wrong to most people. It doesn't take many people passing you at sixty miles an hour on Peoria Avenue to make you get *with the flow of traffic*. And I'm sure the street engineers didn't use the term "suicide lane" when they designed the middle lane of Phoenix streets, but everyone in Phoenix knows that term.

And in spite of the fact that at intersections the time for the yellow and red lights have been extended, Phoenix still leads the country in red-light running. This isn't carelessness for the most part, this is physics. A vehicle going at freeways speeds is difficult to stop. And since there is no law like the one in California protecting pedestrians, there is no incentive for people in vehicles to even watch for them. Phoenix drivers keep their eyes on the traffic lights - green means go, yellow means "gun it", and red means "oops!"

I've seen some horrible carnage in the intersections of Phoenix, but it doesn't seem to change people's minds. They are *going with the flow of traffic*, and since there are never any pedestrians, never anyone on a bike, and never bad weather, when there is, people die.

When I learned to drive, I stopped for red lights and stop signs to avoid hurting anyone, especially myself. I was not concerned with getting a ticket. I didn't need to be told what to do. In Phoenix, I have seen stop signs at the end of the rows in parking lots.


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