April 8, 2013

Cheers and Jeers: April 8, 2013


---- — CHEERS to two women whose cars collided at the intersection of Brinkerhoff and Oak streets in the City of Plattsburgh on Tuesday, March 26. It wasn’t clear to bystanders who was at fault, but the civil way in which these two women dealt with the mishap was obvious. Both got out of their cars, and, instead of reacting with anger, the younger one helped the older person gather up bits of plastic and metal from her vehicle. Then they moved their cars to safe locations and met again to sort matters out. Neither appeared to be injured, but the damage to the older woman’s car was severe enough that repair promised to be fairly pricey. Even so, the women were solicitous to each other, calm and reasonable. Often, people involved in fender benders react with anger — and that is understandable, as such incidents can be frightening and, even with car insurance, costly to the person at fault. And it’s tremendously inconvenient when a car is in the garage for repairs. All the same, it’s good to remember the meaning of the word “accident.” Approaching it in that light can bring resolution much more quickly and leave both parties feeling less traumatized. That’s what seemed to be happening at that accident by Plattsburgh Public Library, and those women certainly were setting a good example to others as they dealt with matters in such a civilized fashion.

JEERS, on the other hand, to drivers who engage in road rage. Press-Republican reporter Dan Heath was driving south on Interstate 89 north of Burlington last week and was passing another car at about 65 miles per hour when a driver began tailgating him at a distance of about 10 feet. Heath gave a wave to the other driver in the rear-view mirror. Once Heath moved out of the passing lane, the other driver pulled up alongside and began giving multiple one-finger salutes and screaming. Instead of then driving away, the agitated driver continued this for 7 to 10 miles. He even signaled to get off at the Winooski/Colchester exit and pulled onto the off ramp but then hurriedly drove back onto the highway when Heath didn’t also exit. The irate motorist continued to pace Heath’s car — probably further enraged because Heath was laughing at him. This menace to the roads even purposely blocked the passing lane when other cars were merging onto the highway, forcing Heath to slow down rapidly to let traffic in. The incident ended south of Burlington, when the angry driver pulled off at the Shelburne Road exit. He had probably saved about 20 seconds of time and had maybe even driven past his destination — all because he was inflamed with anger. People like that are a ticking time bomb, on and off the road. 

— If you have a Cheers and Jeers suggestion that you want the Editorial Board to consider, email it to Editor Lois Clermont at