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'Free' right turns are not a free-for-all

Victim of hit-and-run accident hopes driver develops compassion


To the driver in the compact white car who hit me and my dog Jan. 4 at 10 a.m.: Wow. You didn’t even slow down.

We were waiting on the corner of Durham and 99W for the walk sign to light up. Whichever one lit first, we were heading that direction, because eventually we had to cross both ways. I’m guessing you would have hit me in either direction because you didn’t even look where you were going. You looked only at what was coming at you.

When you started out, we were right in front of you, and even though we tried to jump out of the way, you hit us on your driver side fender and sent us tumbling Dick Van Dyke-style into the middle of the crosswalk.

Did you not hear the “thunk”? Did you not hear me cry out? Maybe you had earbuds in. You should have felt it.

At any rate, you did not even slow down. It might have been my imagination, but I thought you actually sped up.

Oh, by the way, we are OK. We came away with only minor bruises, although I can’t speak much for the dog because his bruises don’t really show. He’s a 5-year-old, 90-pound boxer and pretty tough. I’m a 67-year-old granny and pretty tough myself.

We landed on our feet so kept walking to the curb to avoid further problems. Did you even check your rear view mirror?

Driver, I pray for you. My prayer is that God will give you a conscience so that when you do something stupid, you will own up to it. If you can drive away with no guilt about what you did, I feel sorry for you.

Without guilt there is no compassion. If you do feel guilty, I pray that you will use that guilt to make yourself a better person. Don’t contact me. At this point, I truly don’t want to know who you are.

“Free” right turns: Are they really free? How many times a day do we all have to hit our brakes in busy Tigard traffic because somebody decides there’s plenty of room between us and the car ahead of us to jump in?

It’s bad enough when you’re in a car, but pedestrians have an even more dangerous go of it. In my opinion, free right turns at stoplights are the second worst idea Oregon traffic lawmakers ever came up with.

People who are intent on jumping out into traffic the second they see the last car in line are not looking in the crosswalk. And heaven forbid a bicycle should be speeding along on the side.

Of course, the worst idea Oregon came up with is the blinking yellow left-turn light. This is especially dangerous on roads with multiple lanes. If all you’re looking at is the break in the traffic that you can fit into, you may easily mow down whatever is in the crosswalk once you get there.

Don’t get me wrong. I use both of these “free” turns when I drive, but I hope I am always exceedingly cautious when I do. And please don’t sit behind me and lay on your horn if I am not taking a free turn. That will just make me sit there until the light turns in my favor.

And if you see an old lady in a bright pink sweatshirt with a gigantic boxer walking along, just wave. It’s nice to be noticed.

Susan Gohlke lives in King City.

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