A recent report out of Concord, N.H. reveals that as of September 5th of this year, reportable crashes on our highways in the Granite State have increased by 17% over last year and that amounts to a staggering 15,000 accidents involving a least a $1000 of damage.
Driving on a regular basis in the Upper Valley you can certainly see how we have reached that number. As a group, New Hampshire drivers (like the rest of the United States) are simply terrible once they slip behind the wheel and hit the road. World wide, American drivers are considered some of the most dangerous. Why? Well that report lists mobile technology (cell phones and texting), opioid use resulting in motorists driving while drug impaired, and of course alcohol-impaired.
Solid factors for sure, but the premier cause of all those accidents can be summed up in one simple word: IMPATIENCE! That leads to aggressive driving and that steers them into accidents. No one, and I mean no one, will allow themselves to be delayed even a fraction of a second once they get in traffic. Ignorance or disregard for traffic laws are huge factors as well. Want proof? A recent survey revealed that 68% of the motorists polled actually believe that if you approach a stop sign and nobody is coming toward the intersection, you don't have to come to a stop!! Same applied to turning right on a red light. Wrong on both accounts!!
The Upper Valley Mirror took time to reflect on driving in the Upper Valley and after consulting with professional drivers fighting the daily traffic came up with the top three worst driving locations and why. Then again, you most likely already know them!!
#1 The West Lebanon Shopping Center Rte#12A
A drivers nightmare!! Bumper-to-bumper traffic almost any time. Four to five cars running a red light at any given time. Blocking intersections. Racing each other side-by-side to be the first one at the next traffic light. "That guy is not going to get there before me!!" Failure to yield the right of way. Changing lanes without a signal. Sitting through green lights while texting!! Road rage prevails everywhere!!
#2 Downtown Hanover, NH
Complete and utter chaos!! The Town of Hanover has long outgrown the ability to handle the amount of daily traffic. They should take a lesson from Burlington, Vt and block off downtown like they do at Church Street and make it available for pedestrians only. In Hanover you find bumper-to-bumper traffic mostly in the morning and afternoon. Once again motorists running stop signs and red lights on a regular basis. Out of control pedestrians ( most often oblivious with ear plugs and looking down while texting) crossing when ever and where ever they please!! Now add folks on bicycles (who are subject to ride on the road and obey all traffic laws that apply to motorists) but refuse to do so. No riding those bikes on the sidewalks. Recently a 91-year old woman was killed by a bicycle on the sidewalk. Yes you in the fancy riding outfit!! You have to stop for that red light!
#3 Rte#120 leading to DHMC and The Interstate
Ah yes! Route #120 running between the Interstate and Dartmouth Hitchcock Memorial Hospital and Hanover, NH. When driving here put on your driving gloves and a helmet! Be ready for some speed. They should rename that stretch of highway the Dartmouth Hitchcock Memorial Speedway!
Why you ask? Well the speed limit is 40 m.p.h but you won't find any motorists traveling at that speed. The medium speed appears to be 50-60 m.p.h. and then some. I know people who report they were doing 60 m.p.h. and were passed! Add the fact that people are constantly changing lanes (again without a signal) and you have an accident looking for a place to happen. And then there is the section heading toward Hanover that merges from two lanes into one lane. Watch motorists race each other to be there first!! By the way, the vehicle on the left near the yellow line has the right-of-way! Bumper-to-bumper high speed driving while texting! Have mercy!!