Editor’s Scratchpad

By Richard Halloran

Thursday, March 29, 2001

Slipshod driving:
an ingrained habit?

Driving habits in Honolulu are akin to the observation about the weather often ascribed to Mark Twain: "Everybody talks about it but nobody does anything about it."

Many drivers in Hawaii are dangerous but for reasons different from those on the mainland. In New York or Los Angeles, drivers sometimes charge through traffic with abandon but they are usually alert. Here, drivers meandering through traffic are frequently inattentive and careless.

Hardly a day passes that anyone on the streets can count a half-dozen violations of the law or commonly accepted rules of the road. Among the more frequent complaints: Drivers dashing into traffic from the right, ignoring stop signs or red lights; drivers failing to use turn signals to change lanes or to make turns; drivers traveling five miles under the speed limit but hogging the left lane on a two- or three-lane road. Bullies are especially threatening when driving pickup trucks, garbage trucks, vans and SUVs, cutting in and out of traffic with little regard for people in smaller cars.

The police, truth be told, are sometimes among the offenders, changing lanes abruptly without flicking on their signals. Nor do they appear to crack down on violators except for speeding. It is said that speed kills but a close second must surely be slipshod driving.

Given what seem to be ingrained driving habits, it's probably futile even to bring this up. But if these few words can help cut down on road rage, or reduce fender-bender accidents, or even save a life, it will have been worthwhile.

--Richard Halloran

Richard Halloran is Editorial section editor.
He can be reached by e-mail at

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