Attention Drivers: PAY ATTENTION!

A crash scene on the New York State Thruway in Yonkers last week. (Photo: Thane Grauel/The Journal News)

A crash scene on the New York State Thruway in Yonkers last week. (Photo: Thane Grauel/The Journal News)

A few weeks ago my wife and I were in bumper to bumper Sunday traffic on the Thruway when all of a sudden: WHAM! We were hit in the back by some idiot. I don’t know what he was looking at, but it certainly wasn’t the car in front of him as we were almost at a dead stop. Now there’s over $11,000.00 worth of damage to my 2 month old brand new car, and my wife and I both sustained injuries. Our only crime was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now I’m going to be without my car for a month while it’s being fixed and my wife and I both have seen doctors and will have to see others in the future. All of this got me thinking about all of the stupid things I see drivers do and I have one request for everyone who drives: PLEASE PAY FRIGGING ATTENTION!

You need to remember that every time you get behind the wheel, you are driving a two ton death machine, so show it the proper respect it deserves. First of all, make sure that any car you’re driving is road worthy. Make sure the brakes and lights work. Secondly, drive time is not the time to be on your phone, texting, eating a bowl of cereal or for you ladies, or fellas, (I’m not judging) applying makeup! You might be laughing, but I have personally seen a driver do every one of these things while driving.

When driving make sure your attention is focused on where you’re going, not where you’ve been. Also, when driving on a multi-lane road, please remember that putting your blinker on doesn’t mean that you now have an invisible force field around your car. You still need to check and see that it’s safe to change lanes before you do so.

Finally, if you are a person who likes to travel slowly on the highway, that’s fine, just stay in the right lane. Don’t be a knucklehead when someone wants to pass you and slam on your brakes or slow down. Unless you are a duly authorized law enforcement officer whose post is the highway that you’re driving on, it’s not your job to enforce the speed limit. Leave that to the professionals and it might save you from a potential road rage incident.
In conclusion, if everyone pays attention to the road when they’re driving, and limits outside distractions there will be fewer accidents, and fewer people hurt.

P.S. to motorcyclists and bicyclists, just because you have two wheels instead of four doesn’t mean you don’t have to obey all of the vehicle and traffic laws that cars do. If you want car drivers to watch out for you, then you have to watch out for them.


About Author

Robert Caiati, a Stony Point resident, served in the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier from 1984 through 1986, during the end of the Cold War. He was a police officer for the City of White Plains from 1988 through 2008, working as patrolman and then a detective in the Street Crime, Narcotics and Intelligence units. Caiati is now an investigator for the New York City Department of Investigation, and his office keeps tabs on the New York City schools. He has been married for 20 years and has a daughter, 18, and a son, 14.


  1. Wait, it’s the job of someone driving at the legally posted speed to avoid the road rage of other people? Quality victim blaming.

    • Zach, in NY it is only common courtesy to keep out of the left lane if you are impeding the flow of traffic. In NJ it is the law, you cannot be in the left lane unless you are passing slower traffic. And as for going the speed limit, car speedometers are not precisely calibrated, and can vary by a few MPH at highway speed, so someone who thinks they are going 55 might actually be going only 52.

  2. I’m aware that a person doing the posted speed limit in the left lane is legal. However, even though the left lane is the “passing lane,” let’s call it what it really is, the lane for people travelling a little faster. I’m not blaming the victim, however if you’re not willing to travel a little faster in the left lane, than drive in the right lane. Don’t purposely slow down or slam on your brakes to make some sort of point. At that point you’ve become a jerk, not a victim.

  3. “[bicyclists] If you want car drivers to watch out for you, then you have to watch out for them.”

    Sorry for your accident, which would have been a million times worse if you were hit on a bicycle instead of your car, but as you learned first hand, this is not a game of reciprocity.

Leave A Reply