In between assignments Thursday, I lounged in Capitola for a bit. While there, I caught people behaving badly behind the wheel of deadly weapons.
In my first encounter, I was sitting on a bench around 10 a.m. along Monterey Avenue just inland of Capitola Avenue — chatting on the phone with officer Sarah Jackson of the California Highway Patrol about a future Street Smarts topic — when I heard a loud scraping noise and an engine being revved.
When I looked to my right, I saw a big truck trying to drive up El Camino Medio Street, a nearly vertical climb, from Monterey Avenue, which also is steep. The driver’s attempt caused his tailgate to dig into the road, lifting his rear wheels off the ground. The driver was literally spinning his wheels for a short while, trying to get the truck unstuck.
Going nowhere, he resorted to directing traffic, as his truck blocked inland-bound vehicles on the two-lane Monterey Road. Passersby offered to help, whether it was calling for a tow or brainstorming ways to end the dilemma.
A Capitola Police community officer showed up around 11 a.m. to take over traffic control. Shortly after, a tow truck arrived on scene, assessed the situation and drove around El Camino Medio to try to hoist the truck up the hill, rather than try to tow it from behind.
By 11:15, the truck and its driver were no longer blocking Monterey Avenue.
In my second encounter with bad drivers, I came upon the busy 41st Avenue intersection with Capitola Road around 1 p.m. The signal light was flashing red, which means drivers were to treat is as a four-way stop. Many drivers didn’t seem to understand that concept, as at times, cars from every direction entered the road at the same time seeking to reach their destination.
It’s a miracle no one collided.
Back when I learned to drive, I was taught that the vehicle that arrived first to the intersection, gets the right of way. If two or more vehicles arrived at the same time, the vehicle(s) to the right get to go on their merry way first. Vehicles making a left turn are to wait until straight-going traffic passes before making their turn.
Learn more about right of way at http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/right_of_way.htm.