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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Driving on Long Island

    I have lived in this part of Long Island for over a year now, and it has become more clear to me everyday that driving is dangerous around here. I have spent most of my life in suburban New Jersey, and driving is no picnic there, either. However, due to the unique geographic properties of Long Island, such as the way it is a natural bottle neck with New York City at the mouth and the way local roads are set up and driven, Long Island driving is especially nerve-wracking and hazardous. There must be something that can be done about the conditions drivers must endure, by improving both the roads and drivers. Towards that end, I will describe some of the worst aspects of Long Island driving in the hopes that after we examine such problems, the solutions will become apparent.

    The Long Island Expressway is perhaps the biggest bane of my driving existence here. With a lowly speed limit of 55 miles per hour, a frustrating High Occupancy Vehicle lane, and a confusing supporting network of poorly signed roads, even thinking about how to navigate the roads while driving to the city is hard. Additional severe annoyances include the lack of rest stops and the constant, poorly planned night construction, which is impeding my usual custom of traveling at night.

    The other main problem with driving around here is the other drivers on the road. The poor organization of the road network is, I think, a reason behind the bad driving behavior. Many streets, although suburban in nature, seem like back road speed fares through thick woods. Also, roads like Routes 347 and 97, which are secondary roads with lights all over the place, are driven like highways, with lots of acceleration and fast braking. If people don’t even know how to classify the roads they are driving on, how can they expect to know how they should be driving on them?

    But even worse than this is the poor decision-making of other drivers. Despite witnessing accidents that all drivers inevitably encounter, people continue to drive recklessly. There are even multiple memorials along Rocky Point Road near where I live, which commemorate deadly accidents that occurred there — I even saw people visiting one once. Yet, people still drive that road like it’s the Audubon.

    Yellow lights seem not to phase drivers around here and a dangerous proportion of drivers speed at a velocity that’s hazardous to everyone around. Impatient and untrustworthy drivers tailgate, so you can never be sure that you will not get rear-ended the next time you tap the breaks.

    In order for the roads to be safer, and for there to be less accidents, drivers need to be more careful, more courteous, and above all more conscious of the possible consequences of their actions. It only takes one a moment to realize that driving slower is more preferable to laying in a hospital bed, among other sad possibilities.

    Additionally, authorities need to spend some serious time organizing important items like the timing of traffic lights and other anti-traffic measures to deal with factors like congestion and the naturally dangerous tendencies of Long Island drivers.

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