It’s a polite gesture, but police say it’s usually one to avoid.
Iowa drivers in a line of traffic occasionally leave a gap to allow a turning vehicle to pass through. Then there’s the courteous “Go ahead” wave from the driver that stopped short.
Cedar Rapids police Sgt. Michael Wallerstedt said too many drivers find out the hard way how dangerous the situation can become. Sometimes there is a second lane of traffic that has not stopped, and cannot see the turning vehicle.
It happened again shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday morning, when a Mediacom service van slammed into the side of a sedan near the corner of Blairs Ferry Road and Edgewood Road NE in Cedar Rapids. Police said the sedan was trying to turn west out of the Casey’s parking lot when a driver in the turning lane stopped short to let the turning car through.
Because traffic was backed up in the turning lane, the driver of the westbound van in the through lane did not see the turning car.
The woman driving the car was trapped inside for a moment, but once firefighters popped her door open, she was taken to St. Luke’s Hospital. Police said she had minor injuries. The van driver was not hurt.
The crash caused Blairs Ferry Road to be shut down west of Edgewood Road NE for about 40 minutes.
Wallerstedt said the woman driving the car would be ticketed.
“Ultimately, the car driver is at fault because it’s her responsibility to enter safely,” Wallerstedt said.
In December 2010, the same scenario played out along Blairs Ferry Road NE near the Interstate 380 interchange. A van driver accepted the kind gesture but did not see an oncoming car. The car ran off the bridge, and only a snowy embankment kept the car from tumbling down onto the interstate. No one was injured.
“It happens way too often,” Wallerstedt said.