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Jennings Sunday: Drive with caution on increasingly scary State Road 7


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The volume of vehicles on State Road 7 has increased exponentially in my lifetime of 57 years.

Today, there are so many friends and family who refuse to drive on this highway unless there is no other optional route because of the danger.

Usually one trip between Columbus and North Vernon is enough to cause gray hairs on one’s head, especially if that trip is during the morning or evening commute hours.

There are only about two hours a day when traffic is light: Between 2 and 4 a.m. During all other hours, there is rarely a one-minute space with less than 10 vehicles.

For those of us who live along the highway, we dread each time we need to get in our vehicles and go anywhere.

Having to retrieve our mail and newspaper and mow the yard are equally dangerous tasks.

In the past very few weeks, there have been three accidents within one mile of Green Acres, including one fatality. There have been so many near misses I couldn’t count them.

I am positive that few drivers travel at the maximum 55 mph speed limit. When I do, vehicles pile up behind me in a matter of seconds.

With few places that are truly safe to pass, coupled with the high volume of traffic, drivers frequently abandon reason and pass at any opportunity.

I have personally experienced driving three-abreast on the two-lane roadway because of another driver’s impatience.

Trying to make a left-hand turn from either direction on State Road 7 is most dangerous because there are so many small rises and dips in the road to decrease the distance you are visible.

When vehicles are traveling at 65 mph, the time and distance to come to a stop are usually greater than the distance to the vehicle waiting to make the turn.

As my daughters learned to drive, I made certain to train them to keep an eye not only on the oncoming traffic but on the traffic approaching from behind.

My advice to other drivers? Anticipate.

Expect that there might be a vehicle just over the crest of the hill that is stopped in the roadway for some reason.

Use your turn signal very early, especially if you will be turning beyond the crest of a hill.

Please be patient. We who live on the highway also need to use the road and do not drive vehicles that can do zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds. We also cannot bring our vehicles to a stop and turn into our driveways in 2.5 seconds, so you will need to brake if you are behind us.

Drive defensively. Pretend that every other driver is going to do something stupid, because about half of them will.

Please don’t tailgate. Leave space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Give yourself reaction time and distance to actually stop.

I don’t want to be the next statistic added to the long, long list.

And I don’t want you to be, either.

Lori Ammerman resides off State Road 7 near the Green Acres subdivision in Scipio. Send comments to  editorial@therepublic.com.

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