I've been waiting tables and working in the food service industry for about four years now and I've had quite a large variety of people eat at the establishment I am currently employed with. One of the more interesting encounters that I was able to partake in was a group of Harley-Davidson enthusiasts that were from Toronto, Canada traveling around the US on their bikes.

According to these gentlemen, Toronto is regarded as one of the worst cities in the world to drive for a mixture of different things. They said that the congestion is horrible, the drivers are not courteous, and driving a motorcycle there is a life-endangering feat. After speaking with them for about an hour while serving them, they said something to me that really put things into perspective. One of the gentlemen said this, "We've been here in Lafayette for about a day and a half and I can honestly say that it's worse than Toronto."

This got me thinking, could our little city in the heart of Louisiana really be that bad. So I went ahead and did a little research. Perhaps this will put it into perspective on just how bad it can be around here. Firstly, Louisiana currently stands with the highest insurance rates in the US, ranked six in the motor vehicle death ranking, and on top of it all we were ranked seventh for being the most dangerous state to drive in.

Overall, we all have to share the roads here folks and it's better to be safe than to get their quickly. I have been taking note of driving issues around town and I think these might help you drive just a little safer and perhaps save a life or two in the process.

  1. Speeding in the city is useless. Many people don't realize this, but we have a gentleman named Tony Tramel, who happens to be Lafayette's traffic coordinator, and he has designed the lights to be used at certain speeds. So, if you happen to be driving down Johnston street going 50 mph and are wondering why you hit every single red light, while the guy who is going 40 mph is still right next to you... that's why. The light timings are designed to turn green right as you approach if you are going the speed limit. It may not always be 100% accurate, but give it a try, you might be surprised at the results.
  2. Right of way. Most of you know about right of way when it comes to intersections, but when I refer to it, I am referring to pedestrians. Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, even if they are in the wrong. Obviously, if they happen to be jay-walking, legal action can be taken, but they have their bodies and you have a car made of metal. I'm pretty sure you would win in a fight. Just be courteous and patient.
  3. Speaking of courtesy. As a believer in karma, I also believe that it can come around to bite you if you don't choose to at least show a little common decency on the road. I'm referring to whenever you see that person on your left who needs to merge into your lane and has their blinker on. What harm is it when you let someone in? Or perhaps when traffic might be backed up and someone is trying to turn out of a road, just let them in and be nice. It will make you feel better about yourself and on top of that, it's good karma.

Just show a little love to your fellow driver and that will usually come right back to you down the road.