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Letter: Fast, aggressive drivers are a menace on Clarks Bridge Road

Re: Excessive speeds, aggressive drivers on Clarks Bridge Road (State Route 284), motorists driving through this area traveling at high rate of speed.

Details of my experience the morning of June 2 provides an example of my morning commute to work and what I experience regularly on Clarks Bridge Road, and what residents of this area are forced to live with.

I am a Hall County resident and live off Clarks Bridge Road. I work for Habersham County in public safety and for the hospital. I have been a Hall County resident for five years.

That morning, I left for work, pulled out of my neighborhood, Clarks Bridge Crossing, and proceeded southeast on Clarks Bridge Road toward Gainesville. The roadway was clear as I pulled onto State Route 284, I accelerated to the speed limit, 45 mph, and within moments observed a vehicle in my rear-view mirror. This vehicle established a close following distance — tailgating — and so I accelerated to 55 mph, 10 mph over the limit. The vehicle behind me maintained a distance so that I only saw its grill in my mirror; I could hear the vehicle’s engine. This vehicle followed closely until the intersection of SR 284 and U.S. 129. At the intersection, I made a left turn and the vehicle following maneuvered around me and passed on the right. The driver held his arm out the window, arm and middle finger extended and waving, with horn sounding as he sped past me.

Ironically I encountered the same driver’s vehicle and his passenger at the QuikTrip on Jesse Jewell Parkway. It was here the driver approached me in an aggressive manner and stated “I should have rear-ended you for pulling out in front of me when I’m running 75 mph.” The driver went on to explain it is his “God-given right to travel at whatever speed he pleases” and advised he “has friends in the State Patrol” and he “pays taxes.”

Sir, I see the state patrol on SR 284 on occasion running radar and I appreciate their presence. I do not feel this is enough.

SR 284 in my opinion is dangerous. People use the road as a bypass and travel at interstate speeds. In my area, we have Don Carter State Park and the Olympic Park, with vehicles traveling at 75-plus mph through this area, 35-plus mph over the speed limit. This is extremely dangerous and unacceptable. I am not so naive as to believe drivers obey posted speed limits, but I feel the situation on SR 284 is out of control.

My family and neighbors deserve roads that are safe to travel on, and free from aggressive travelers cutting through our area.

Sal Badalamente


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