For several years I have been meaning to write about how local people in Dickinson, North Dakota drive, which is irritating, but not as bad, or as dangerous as how some new people in Dickinson drive.
Sometimes, you can tell from how a person in Dickinson is driving, that they must have just got here from Denver, Phoenix, or Salt Lake City. In these cities, there are long distances to cover, often on congested, multi-lane, high speed roads. The people who live in cities like this, drive aggressively.
This aggressive driving involves doing everything fast, drive fast up to a stop sign, don’t stop completely, pull out into traffic immediately, follow just a few feet behind the car in front of you. There is very little room for error, and mistakes made by you or another driver, can be catastrophic when you drive fast and aggressive like this everywhere you go.
There are several problems with driving like this in Dickinson, and I will give some examples. One, in downtown Dickinson in the residential areas, there are often not any stop signs at intersections. In the past, the downtown residential areas were not very busy, local people took their time and were not in a hurry, the speed limit is only 25 mph, and local people did not have a problem yielding to approaching drivers, as no one had the right-of-way. I have seen new people in Dickinson speed through downtown residential areas, and assume that because they do not see any stop sign, they can continue to drive fast through intersections. They don’t even realize that the cross street does not have a stop sign either, and they are driving so fast that they don’t even know that they just made a mistake, and need to be more careful next time at that intersection.
Two, on Villard Street downtown, there are several designated cross walks, where pedestrians have the right-of-way, and approaching vehicles are supposed to stop and yield to pedestrians entering the cross walk. The speed limit on Villard Street in these areas is 25 mph, which is good, because sometimes pedestrians step out into the cross walk from behind parked cars, and drivers do not have very much time to react and stop. I have seen some new people in Dickinson, driving faster than they should on Villard Street, not realizing that there are designated crosswalks, and they don’t even slow down when people are in the crosswalk trying to cross the street, while other drivers have come to a complete stop.
Three, there is a difference between a small town with 25,000 people, versus a large city with over a million people. All of the streets in Dickinson, are residential streets, they are not limited access or controlled access high volume commuter routes. The main thoroughfares in Dickinson, have many homes, churches, schools, and businesses that abut the streets. You can expect people to back out into these streets, come to a stop, turn their steering wheel , and then proceed ahead with the flow of traffic. This is not a hold up, or a hazard, this is just a normal everyday occurrence that you can expect on these 25mph to 35 mph residential streets in Dickinson.
However, I have seen people who have recently arrived in Dickinson, think that a 25 mph to 35 mph speed limit is obsolete, that they are going to drive on the residential streets like they are on a commuter route, and if anyone should attempt to pull out onto the street that they are on while they are driving 45 mph, they are going to get run over. The answer to this, is that if you want to run into someone on a residential 25 mph street in Dickinson while driving 45 mph, you can, you will have many opportunities. You have a 50% chance more or less, that you will be cited for the accident. The Police are going to ask you, or figure out themselves, why you were not able to slow down in time, the speed limit is only 25 mph.
This past Sunday in Dickinson, I was stopped at the north exit of the Runnings parking lot, waiting to make a right turn onto 21st Street, to drive east toward the traffic lights at the Hwy 22 intersection one block to the east. I was waiting on a blue Chevy Impala driving on 21st Street coming from the west, with its right turn signal on, as it slowed down to make a right turn into the Runnings parking lot. I wanted to make sure that the Chevy Impala was actually going to turn before I proceeded out onto 21st Street. I was also vaguely aware that there were other vehicles on 21st Street that were coming from the west, that were getting closer to this blue Chevy Impala as it was slowing down and making a right turn into the parking lot.
What I was kind of surprised to see, as I was just about able to make a right turn onto 21st Street as the Chevy Impala made its right turn into the parking lot, was that the black Audi behind it coming from the west, was going about 45 mph to 50 mph, and was not slowing down. If I would have made my right turn onto 21st Street at that time, the black Audi would have either run into the back of my truck, or it could have swerved into the turn lane to avoid a collision with my truck, but possibly had a head on collision with a vehicle in the turn lane, because like I said, it was driving at about 45 mph to 50 mph.
This black Audi car had a license plate from Europe on its front bumper, like this was a cool car from the Autobahn in Germany. I thought that they were an idiot, this is not the Autobahn with controlled access, this is a 25 mph to 35 mph street right where people are exiting the car wash, the nursing home, Runnings, and the gas station convenience store.
I really wanted to see what state they were from by looking at their rear license plate when they passed. The rear license plate was covered by a thick tinted and hazed plastic cover. These plastic covers are installed on cars driven by speeders to prevent highway cameras in places like Phoenix from being able to photograph the license plates and issue a speeding ticket through the mail. However, these plastic covers also make it hard for people to read their license plate, and I could not even see the license plate at all.
This told me that this person has not been in Dickinson very long at all. The Police in Dickinson are not going to tolerate a license plate that they can’t even read when they are directly behind their vehicle. You can be stopped and issued a citation for this, and the Police in Dickinson want to look up every license plate in front of them.