Aggressive driving is bad news in Lake Travis.
On busy roadways like 620 and 71, it is also deadly.
Over the years, we’ve lost wonderful community members to auto accidents, so we know better. If everyone is aware of the real dangers that exist on our roads, why do we have so many reckless drivers?
And as a community, what can we do about it?
Yesterday I witnessed a truck get t-boned because a driver made an improper left turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic on 620. During 5 o’clock rush hour. The truck never saw it coming.
Less than 12 hours later during morning rush hour, I guess I didn’t leap from a complete stop fast enough at a short-cycling light onto 620 — there were also cars in front of me — so a huge truck angrily revved his engine and rode my bumper through the yellow light.
After I safely made the left turn, he flew by me on my right, rolled down his window and gestured at me. Then he hung his arm out of his window with his phone in his hand to snap a picture of me while he was still driving on 620. (Uhm, why?) I managed to give him an inappropriate and/or appropriate hand gesture, which may or may not be posted online somewhere.
The point is, as a community, let’s stop the madness. It goes without saying, the Lake Travis area during rush hour is no place for road rage. Running late is not a good reason. Being a lunatic is also not a good reason.
There is plenty of danger for everyone on 620, 2222 and 71 in perfect driving conditions.
While TxDOT is slowly improving highways in Lakeway, Bee Cave, and Spicewood, there is little room for driver error and lots of room for head-on collisions.
Sure, everyone makes mistakes.
We get distracted by an overwhelming mental to-do list or we have too many kids in the car on the way to soccer practice.
We screw up.
But the drivers who make life on the road more dangerous intentionally?! Enough is enough.
Children at play
I’ve personally witnessed people driving at least 20 mph over the speed limit on neighborhood streets where small children are playing in their own front yards.
I’ve also witnessed the parents of said children try to chase down these drivers on foot out of sheer frustration.
The “SLOW: Drive As If Your Kids Were Playing On This Street” signs are not in Lake Travis yards for decoration or humor, they’re a plea for safety.
School zone safety
If you drive on Lohmans Crossing, you’ve seen plenty of people get pulled over for speeding.
In February of 2015, a man was arrested for driving drunk in the school zone at Lakeway Elementary. He was charged with a third degree felony. It was his third DWI.
In Lakeway alone, we keep LPD Officers busy with all kinds of traffic issues from speeding tickets to crashes. Just take a glance at Lakeway Mayor Joe Bain’s blog and you might be surprised at the amount of vehicle-related incidents that occur every month.
What residents are doing
A few weeks ago, our friends at Community Impact chatted with Spicewood resident Linda Wall, a representative for Save Our Spicewood, an organization that is petitioning TxDOT for improvements to a particularly dangerous stretch of West Hwy. 71 — between RR 620 and US 281 — the site of 140 crashes last year including fatalities.
What else can we do? Are there other initiatives we should know about? If you have ideas, let us know in the comments section on Facebook.
G Jacks says
Thank you for highlighting this issue in Lake Travis Lifestyle. Personally, I’d like to hear more from law enforcement regarding their advice for dealing with aggressive drivers. I’ve seen people post pics of the offenders’ vehicles and license plates with a warning to watch out for them, and I think feedback from law enforcement would be helpful.
For now, though, let’s give each other a little grace (and space). We all tend to get in a hurry, and we’re frustrated with slow traffic. Let’s begin with recognizing that we’re all in this together. If we’re all going to make it home alive, we have to rely on each other. Try to leave a few minutes earlier for your destination, so you’re not tempted to ride someone’s bumper through a yellow light, or run a red light. Leave more space between vehicles, drive at (or under) the speed limit for a change, use friendly gestures like a wave and a smile (in place of the single-digit “salute”).
We’ve got to recognize that we’re all in this together. We are dependent on one another to make it home to our families and love ones in one piece. Would a public service campaign to highlight the problem and encourage safe driving be helpful? We could hold a contest for slogan ideas. I’ll start: How about “Avoid a dent-y on 620!” or “Drive friendly and good in Spicewood”? Like I said, we should probably solicit other ideas.
Cathy Hale says
These are all valid points. We’ve shared this article with City of Lakeway (Mayor Bain) and Chief Radford in hopes that they will respond too. You’re right–we’re all in this together, so a little more grace would be a good start…
Ashley Bryan says
The new “auxiliary” lane on 620 is a real lane, despite being painted with the wider stripes. A young man in the center turn lane, was “waived through” by the drivers in the two main lanes, that he was clear to turn in front of them. They did not check to see me driving in the “new” 3rd lane on the right, the auxiliary lane. I T-boned him doing less than 30 mph. Neither of us got hurt, thankfully! But the police said they have had a lot of people questioning / not understanding that this is an actual lane. It is not a TURN ONLY lane, it is a normal lane that can do normally posted speeds. Don’t let the wide stripes fool you!
Cathy Hale says
Great point! I’ve tried to help people across main lanes by waving them through too and it’s very stressful, because I can’t be sure they can clear safely. We do what we can to help our fellow drivers, but it’s not foolproof. Thanks for the comment!
That’s interesting because I called and asked about that lane and was told it was auxiliary- for acceleration and turning. It seems dangerous when people drive so much faster than the other two lanes that are stuck in a stop and go pattern. Have seen so many people driving like that lane is for drag racing.
Thank you for this Cathy!!! So well said!! I wish we had more police/sheriff presence on 71 and 620. The aggressive driving is insane and deadly. If everyone could stop driving like Douche Canoes, it’d be great.
Deborah Zimbelman says
Thank you for bringing this up. I actually quit my job downtown to take a job closer to home due to the danger on the road. I have been shocked at how I and other drivers have been treated on 2244 especially. Between people almost running me off the road, honking, yelling and finger gesturing, I have decided not to participate in this insanity anymore. It’s too dangerous and I was so stressed every morning and evening while driving to and from work. And the amount of people texting while driving is mind boggling. No body cares, and even after someone dies, people just go back to their hideous behavior. If you need to be on time to work people, leave on time! or earlier. You are not the only one on the road trying to get somewhere important. And while the majority of the drivers out there are courteous, the people who are not are the ones that leave emotional and physical damage to those of us who are trying to do good and live safely through the day.
Since quitting my job and not having to drive to Austin every day, my life feels so much more serene. Too bad it had to come to this though. Because I do love Austin and love to go there as often as possible. Thankfully, it won’t be every day now.
Thanks for letting me vent.