A couple of weeks ago, I came out of my office (corner of Millburn & Main, 3rd floor above Starbucks) to walk to the post office and do a few things in town. As I walked across Millburn Avenue at the corner of Main Street, a woman driver made the illegal right hand turn onto Millburn Avenue against the one way flow of traffic. I banged on her window and yelled at her that she was going the wrong way on one way street to no avail. Quite shocking considering I have a fairly loud talking voice so when I yelled at her, I'm pretty sure they heard me on Springfield Avenue, let alone on Millburn Avenue. But what really pissed me off is 20 minutes later, when I came back to that very spot, a Millburn police officer was doing crossing guard duty for the middle school kids who had just gotten out of school. Too bad, as that would have been an interesting conversation to overhear.
Earlier this week, as I was driving to work down Old Short Hills Road towards town, same thing (only no yelling or banging this time). A woman made the illegal left hand turn on to Essex Street despite the fact that all three traffic lanes had cars in them. Where was she going? I have no idea but this is not an uncommon occurence in our loverly little neck of the woods.
As I write this, I’m reminded of the craziest wrong way driver I have ever personally witnessed (and been nearly hit by) in my entire life. Back in the '80s, Linda and I had a ski house up at Killington in Vermont. When you enter Vermont from New York on Route 4 going east, the road goes from two lanes (one in each direction) to four lanes with a grassy/snowy median dividing the two sides of the road. A mile or so after entering Vermont, we noticed a car approaching us from the distance that looked like it was driving on the wrong side of the highway. At first we thought this was some sort of illusion or just the way the road twists and turns but it quickly became apparent that the other was indeed driving on our side of the road. I pulled to the far right, flashed my brights and honked my horn but the car still approached. In the end, a little old gray haired lady, with her nose to the steering wheel of a pretty old and beat-up car, drove past us in the left lane and all I could do was watch in the rearview mirror. Many years later, we started taking family ski trips to Killington with the kids and we always told that story.
Look, we all make mistakes while driving. Personally, I think I'm a very good driver despite my slightly heavy foot, my tendency to tailgate anyone who drives too slowly in the left lane (a.k.a. "left lane dick" - for more on this go to my blog entry and the fact that my wife would love to pop a Xanax or two any time we go on a long drive but we don't have extras most of the time. So when you’re in Millburn, remember that just because the sign says “One Way” doesn’t mean everyone is paying attention. Afterall, who has time to read all those traffic signs when there are so many other things to do while driving (but don’t get me started on that).