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Captain’s View

Driving good habits home

It is time to act on our New Year’s resolutions and create new good habits. There are many areas where we can improve our own safety by adhering to a few
good resolutions.

For example, we can promise to take our MacBook Pros and other electronic devices (GPS, laptops, iPods, backpacks, purses, bags, etc.) out of our parked and unattended car – always. When out by ourselves after dark, we will not become so engrossed in our iPhone that we have no idea what’s going on around us. When we go into a restaurant, we will not leave our expensive electronic devices within easy grabbing distance of some thief
walking nearby.

When our relative is coming in from out of town while we are at work, we will not leave our door unlocked. We will not let a stranger follow us into the entryway of our apartment building; we will make him go back out and let the party he is there to see buzz him into the building. When we pull into or leave from our garage we will ensure that nobody sneaks inside before the door is fully closed.

There are so many other good habits we can get into, but now I want to spend some time talking about our bad driving habits, since I just read a 54-page report on those.

Here in the Northern District, which the Marina is part of, we really don’t like stopping for pedestrians. We turn right in front of them, we run red lights in front of them, and we speed right past them. And sometimes they demand the right of way when we are engaged in the aforementioned bad habits. In that case they could potentially be dead right in the crosswalk, as they are no match for a car.

Sometimes pedestrians run right in front of us without looking, especially when running for the bus. Sometimes they run across the middle of a busy street within one of our many commercial areas (Union Street, Chestnut Street) because they don’t want to walk to the crosswalk. These two examples are very bad habits that could cost them their life.

Too much speed is the number one factor in collisions throughout the entire city. We don’t call them accidents because they are preventable.

The top five intersections for red-light-running collisions in the Northern District are Oak at Octavia (hello, it has a red light camera!), Franklin at O’Farrell, Turk at Steiner, Turk at Webster, and Gough at Golden Gate.

The top five intersections for pedestrian right-of-way collisions are Pine at Polk, Union at Van Ness, California at Van Ness, Post at Webster, and Gough at Sacramento.

The top five intersections for speeding collisions are Divisadero at Lombard; Octavia at Oak, Greenwich at Van Ness, Broadway at Van Ness, and California at Van Ness.

And the top intersection for stop sign collisions is Gough at Green.

So good habits to aspire to in 2013 and beyond include driving at or below the speed limit; coming to a full and complete stop at all stop signs before the limit line; slowing for yellow lights and stopping at red ones; and yielding the right-of-way to all pedestrians. And when we are walking, just like when we were kids, look both ways before crossing and use the crosswalk or cross at the intersection at all times.

So slow down, drive and walk defensively, and be patient!

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