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A LEGAL LOOK: Road Rage!

Richard Wilson MFN News Contributor

So I am traveling south on Jefferson Avenue towards a local merchantís shop where I have to stop. As I approach the storefront, I see an open parking space. I dutifully turn on my right turn signal, slow to nearly a crawl, and move my truck clearly towards the direction of the open parking spot indicating to drivers behind me, at least from what I remember being taught as far back as driverís education class, that I would be parallel parking in that particular spot. I put the truck in reverse. My plan was working perfectly. That is, of course, until the person behind me kept proceeding south, and pulled so closely to my rear bumper that it became impossible to then park. I waited for what I think was just an instance hoping perhaps that the driver of the car behind me would realize that I wanted to parallel park. I still had my blinker on. It didnít happen. Instead, I get a horn. A loud horn. A loud, obnoxious, that is overkill horn. A loud, obnoxious, that is overkill horn, with a decibel level of only slightly less than, say, a sonic boom. Actually, for the size of the car, I must say, the horn was fairly impressive Ė not one of those little ďbeep, beep, meek, meekĒ horns. In fact that horn was so loud, I would bet that when itís used, the lights in the car dim and the car itself shakes Ė thatís how loud.

After just a few more seconds, it became clear to me that the driver behind me was not going to realize what my intentions were that morning. In fact, it became clear to me that if I didnít decide to proceed further south, that many of the inhabitants of uptown Moundsville would be permanently deafened by the loud, obnoxious, that is overkill horn, with a decibel level of only slightly less than, say, a sonic boom. So, I proceed further down the block, finding another parking space. Thinking that the driver behind me may have missed the tell-tale signs that someone in front was going to parallel park, I attempt the same maneuver, but this time I put my blinker on clearly in the middle of the block, where there couldnít possibly be a street to turn onto, slow to even slower than a crawl, and make an even more distinct motion towards the empty parking place. Thinking, obviously that this time I would succeed, I put my truck in reverse. It was hard to imagine how much louder that horn could have sounded as I was sitting at the first spot, but it was at a distinctively higher pitch on the second battery of audible attacks that morning. I donít know. Maybe the driver behind me thought that a public service was being provided, warning that there was a crazy driver in front attempting to sideswipe parked cars, yet continuing to miss them and then stopping abruptly for no apparent good reason. Maybe the driver behind me had a bad experience with parallel parking as a child and just couldnít bear allowing anyone else to attempt one. Maybe the driver behind me was Mr. Magoo (Hope some of you remember him!). Maybe the driver is in NASCAR and didnít realize that there may be occasional right turns and use of reverse gear.

Failing miserably now twice at attempts to park on Jefferson, I then decide to park just a few blocks away where I normally park for work, and walk back to the store. My experience doesnít end quite yet however. No. As I continue south and approach the municipal lot behind the old theatre, I put on my blinker and slow down to turn into the lot. Thereís a horn sound yet a third time again piercing the air assuring that everyone along the entire length of Jefferson Avenue is now awake. As I park, I notice that the car behind me is now stopped in the middle of the southbound lane at the entrance of the municipal lot. I donít know the driver. The driver asked me, as impolitely as possible with several expletives included, if I knew what [insert expletive] I was doing and where [insert expletive] I was. I donít think the driver was really interested in that information and those questions were rather rhetorical in nature as I wasnít given time to answer. With one final expletive here the vehicle was immediately whisked away and the driver waived at me with a single finger (the one between the ring and pointer fingers), but not before leaving me with one final indelible audible sensation not soon to be forgotten. In case any of you are wondering, my blinker was working. I checked.

Richard Wilson is an attorney in Moundsville. His offices, Wilson Law Offices, are located at 515 Jefferson Avenue, and he can be reached at 304-843-2300 or at www.wilsonlawoffices.com.

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