The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Drive with a little courtesy


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • May. 25, 2018 - 7:07 AM

I so enjoy reading Miss Pearl’s comments in our paper and loved her answer regarding giving a turn signal when driving a car.  

It brought back memories of my early driving experiences many, many years ago. 

I learned to drive my parents’ 1951 Plymouth, which had no air conditioner and no turn signal. 
 
In learning to drive at that time, I was taught to keep my window down by the driver’s side at all times so that when I needed to make a turn, I could easily put my arm out the window.
 
If I was planning to turn right, I put my arm out the window, bent it at the elbow and pointed my hand toward the Heavens. 
 
To make a left turn, I put my arm straight out the window. In stopping, I put my arm out the window and held it straight down to the road. That gave the person behind me the indication in which direction I planned to go.
 
Since everybody did this, it was not at all strange, and you were constantly on guard that the person in front of you just might soon be making a turn or stopping.

Our car had no radio, but that wasn’t a problem, either. The only radios we listened to were the ones in our homes sitting on a shelf, and of course, it was only AM. There was no FM. And most of the stations signed off by 11 at night. 
 
Of course, I had a 45 RPM record player that provided me music at home as well.

When I first began driving, air conditioning in cars was just making its debut, and some folks had that luxury. 
 
I didn’t want anybody to think MY car wasn’t air-conditioned, so when I drove around, I kept the windows rolled up  – except the driver’s window in order to give a signal, so that when people did see me, they thought I had an air-conditioned car.
 
I can remember nearly burning up trying to look like I had the air conditioner on.
 
Gas was expensive at 25 cents a gallon, so when it came my time to put gas in that Plymouth, I drove into the service station, and the owner would come out to the car, and ask me how much, to which I always replied one dollar’s worth. 
 
My Daddy always put in $5 worth and Mother, when she drove, put in $2 worth. While the owner put the gas in the tank, he washed my windshield, checked under the hood of the car and checked the air in the tires. Yes, that really happened.

Downtown – I called it Uptown – Newnan was usually my destination, and the streets around the courthouse were two-way streets, one lane going, the other coming.
 
And, parking was never, ever a problem. We bought our groceries, went to the drug stores, bought our clothes, our shoes, went to the picture shows – all right there around the court square and the side streets there.

As Miss Pearl said, it is so easy to touch the turn signal to indicate the direction you intend to travel, and it is beyond me why on earth there are so many who think the road belongs only to them and who don’t see a need to regard others traveling in front or behind them.
 
If we all use a little courtesy and pay attention to our driving, how much better would our lives be. Maybe we wouldn’t have so many car wrecks and just maybe some lives could be saved. 
 
Norma Haynes
Newnan