Guest Column

Be a Courteous Driver

My message is simple: Respect the speed limits, don’t bunch up by tailgating and be a courteous driver

By Chris Zarcone

The new U.S. Highway 93 Bypass overpass at Foys Lake Road is now open! I know because my property is situated in such a way that we have had an unobstructed front-row view of the construction. Over the last year we saw the entire structure take shape from start to finish. My hat is off to the workers! We saw them working late into the night on many occasions and also often working throughout the weekends. On top of them putting in long hours to get the job done fast in order to quickly help traffic flows for everyone who used the bypass, they did a great job in safely directing traffic around all the construction. We should all be very thankful to the men and women who created this wonderful new section of the highway. So, well done you guys, it’s beautiful!

As our area gets inundated with new drivers from other states, I have a message for everyone … SLOW DOWN! One rainy night just a few days after the double tear drop shaped roundabouts were opened below the overpass, we heard screeching tires. A few days later we drove the area and found tire skid marks going up into the gravel center of one of the turn-abouts. There was also brand-new curbing on the second level of the gravel that was chipped from the vehicle. The concrete was barely dry before this first accident happened!

It seems each time I drive into town, I find myself being tailgated. This is Montana, what’s the hurry? Vehicles with Texas plates seem to be the worst speeders followed closely by California and then Washington state. 

My wife and I ventured out across America in November of 2020. I was surprised to notice that driving through big cities, the traffic was bumper to bumper, and any gaps were quickly filled up with a speeding vehicle. As a comparison, when we were out on open roads with very little traffic, everyone seemed to be driving the speed limit and the following distance between vehicles was far apart. Isn’t it interesting that where you can easily drive beyond the speed limit, few did, and when traffic was tight, we found most of the speeders?

So again, my message is simple, respect the speed limits, don’t bunch up by tailgating and be a courteous driver. And finally, winter roads in Montana are no place to catch up on your texting!

Chris Zarcone lives in Kalispell. 

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