Fear and aggression. Road worriers and road warriors.
They’re combinations of all-too-human emotions that seem to boil over for many drivers when they hit Highway 49 on the six-mile journey through Auburn.
Something takes hold and the swerving lane changes, digital salutes, manic speed-ups, too-close-for-comfort tailgates, impatient horn blasts and other road-raging reactions come to the fore.
If you’re not doing it, you’re watching it unfold in front of you or in your rear view mirror.
You could call it the Auburn area’s own private Bermuda Triangle.
And while it may be chuckle-worthy to discuss the numerous fender-benders and close calls, the more serious business of injuries and deaths continues to haunt the drive and the Auburn community.
Caltrans and county engineers are well aware of the continuing safety challenges along Highway 49. California Highway Patrol officers and other emergency responders face the carnage on a regular basis.
The state is working on a long-term plan for Highway 49 through Auburn, North Auburn and toward Lake of the Pines that includes more lanes and roundabouts.
But that’s in the future. And we welcome that.
In the meantime, each and every driver getting onto Highway 49 has a responsibility to be mindful that they’re entering what they should consider a danger zone. That means turning off the cell phone, paying attention to the road ahead and concentrating on the driving environment.
Those simple safety practices should improve the odds of getting you home or to work safely.
Auburn’s terrestrial version of the Bermuda Triangle is real. Responsibility starts behind the wheel. And drivers shouldn’t be waiting for new road improvements to increase their odds of making it through the danger zone.