Dear Amarillo Drivers,

I can't even begin to count the weeks we have been dealing with the coronavirus and Covid-19. A lot has changed since we all started staying home more and practicing social distancing back in early March. Maybe you have gotten out a lot even during the pandemic, or maybe you have been home for most of it and are just starting to venture out. What I can say for certainty is how bad drivers around Amarillo have been the last 2 weeks.

To be honest, I have always felt that Amarillo has had some poor drivers, but these last 10 days or so, I feel like I have seen it all. Working in an essential career, while I have been mostly at home, I do get out everyday. Quick stop at the office, check the station's PO Box, or do a quick birthday parade. But I think there are a lot of people that haven't driven in months and it shows. Traffic is getting heavy again, which is fine, but the driving skills I see are not good at all.

First, we have speed limits for a number of reasons, use them. Driving 15 miles per hour under the speed limit on I-40 will not help flatten the curve or stop the spread. Also, driving 80 m.p.h. down Georgia will not outrun the virus. Both too slow and too fast cause accidents. Second, pay attention to the road. Just yesterday, I was on Soncy and the person in front of me was hitting the brakes every 50 feet. I finally figured out that they were looking at each business to see what was open and watching what people outside were doing. If you really want to see what is open or closed that bad, pull into their parking lot. Stopping in the middle of a major road is just plain dumb.

Next, pay attention to split roadways. Twice in the last few days I have seen someone pull out onto a road trying to go left, only to see there is a median keeping them from crossing traffic. Rather then quickly turning right to go the proper direction, they either keep going the wrong way against traffic until the median runs out, or do a complete u-turn into oncoming traffic. Did you do this before the virus? Also, it is ok to make a right turn on red after you stop as long as their is not a sign saying you can't. Just a reminder.

Now one thing that still hasn't changed is red light running. Amarillo has got to be the worst town in the country for people running intersections. I have lived all over the country, and I got to tell you, it is bad here. But, the virus hasn't seemed to change that, so i'm not sure if that is bad or good. Going with bad.

Whether you have been home this whole time, or just not driving all that much, please pay attention. I realize we can't all go back to driving school, but if you feel like you are rusty, then practice in your neighborhood or keep the distractions to a minimum. I don't really have an answer, but to just ask that you please be safe and use your head. Oh, and use your blinker too. That is for another time.

Yours in driving, Braden.