Dear woman in the white Mercedes driving behind me on Route 9: The horn was annoying, but the hand gestures you made afterwards were the cherry on top. The reason that you were upset with me in the first place is part of a driving trend that's getting worse and worse in the Hudson Valley, and it needs to stop before somebody gets hurt.

From running stop signs to not understanding how to navigate a traffic circle, our local roads can be a frustrating place. For me though, nothing is more infuriating than what happened today (and many other days) on my commute from Newburgh to Poughkeepsie, NY. It's also one of the most dangerous.

Dutchess County Drivers on 44/55

It should come as no surprise that my road rage experience happened at the infamous Route 9/44/55/ interchange; an already-confusing arterial that's made worse by drivers who insist on ignoring the rules of the road. Here's the view I'm so often confronted by that makes steam come out of my ears.


Merging Near the Mid-Hudson Bridge

Whether leaving the Mid-Hudson Bridge westbound (above) or entering the bridge from Route 9 south, drivers refuse to obey the yield signs that are so clearly posted. Instead of waiting at the solid white line for a safe opportunity to either merge or take the upcoming exit (below), drivers continue to line up in the exit/entry area. That's where the Mercedes driver comes in.


When cars line up and fill the entire "runway" to the approaching exit, it blocks off access to cars looking to exit from Route 9. These vehicles are then forced to come to a complete stop on the highway (which has a speed limit of 45 mph or above), causing a severe hazard to traffic behind them. That's exactly what the honking woman wanted me to do. I was waiting until there was adequate room to move forward, while she wanted me to gum-up the entire lane.

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The over-eager drivers who queue up in the illegal merging zone are not only ignoring one of the most basic rules of the road (yield when you have a yield sign), they're posing a real danger to other drivers. Too bad her fancy Mercedes didn't have a "don't be a jerk" feature.

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