A lesson for motorists in crosswalk etiquette
Don't berate someone who has been struck
What should you do if you're driving down a road and strike a teenager in the crosswalk?
Well, one thing you shouldn't do is begin yelling at the person lying on the ground bleeding and crying.
"The woman got out of the truck and started yelling at the child," said Wendy Coulten, 51, of Rockville, who said she witnessed a recent such incident in Rockville.
The 15-year-old boy suffered numerous cuts and bruises and a broken finger, but escaped more serious injuries after the impact sent him flying off the crosswalk and onto the sidewalk, she said.
Coulten got out of her car and told the boy to lie still until the ambulance arrived. Police and the ambulance were on the scene quickly. She said she didn't know who was at fault or whether the driver was cited, but Coulten was shocked by the motorist's behavior.
"She just immediately began blaming him," Coulten said.
The proper reaction is to call 911, make certain the injured person knows help is on the way and keep the victim calm, said John Townsend, a spokesman for automobile advocacy group AAA of the Mid-Atlantic.
Do not cause the injured person greater stress by berating him or her, Townsend said.
"That is boorish, obnoxious, unsympathetic behavior," he said. "It shows an utter lack of compassion."
While it is natural to not want to say anything self-incriminating, the motorist should be sympathetic to the injured person, he said.
"A human body cannot compete with three tons of steel and sheet metal," he said.
Economy, traffic jams linked
Traffic congestion lessened nationally because of the high gas prices in 2007 and continued to decline because of the recession, but not in the Washington, D.C., region, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's annual Urban Mobility Report.
But the study also warned that traffic jams nationally are expected to continue to grow once the economy rebounds.
Nationally, drivers spent one hour less in traffic in 2007 than they did the year before and wasted one gallon less gasoline than in 2006 — a minor difference, but a rare decline in the nearly constant growth in traffic in more than 25 years.
"This is a very small change," said Texas Transportation Institute researcher David Schrank.
But in the Washington, D.C., region, the congestion continued its steady rise, leading to higher costs for motorists and delays in traffic.
The average motorist in the region spends an additional $1,271 because of time and fuel spent in traffic jams, up from $1,165 in 2006. The Washington region is second nationally in the cost of traffic jams to the average motorist. Nationally, the average economic loss to motorists due to traffic congestion is $750.
The institute recommended adding roads and public transportation; allowing workers to work flexible times and to telecommute to avoid rush hours; and that jurisdictions make walking, biking and mass transit more practical.
State issues new map
Maryland's new official highway map for 2009-2010 has hit the streets.
The State Highway Administration described the new map as offering "vibrant" details and larger text to make it easier to read.
"While many people use online map services or in-vehicle global positioning systems, there is nothing like using a colorful paper map to plan a trip," said State Highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen in a statement.
The map also features rail lines, transit connections, and park-and-ride lots.
The free maps can be obtained at visitor centers, by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling toll-free, 888-204-4828.