Last week I noticed a photo circulating on my social media feed of Mount Enterprise High School’s baseball team, coaches and school bus pulled over to the side of the road during a Shelby County constable’s funeral procession.
The photo since made its way to USA Today’s high school sports page on Wednesday.
Covering the small community of Mount Enterprise a few years ago, the photo did not surprise me, nor a few fellow East Texans who left messages about it.
Pulling over during any funeral procession — Texas peace officer, a stranger’s grandma you didn’t know, or anyone else — is an unspoken traffic rule where I grew up.
It’s a way to show respect for both the deceased and their grieving friends and family.
Written traffic rules are another beast I’ve questioned since moving to Central Texas area. Having only lived in Texas, I try to excuse minor violators with out-of-state license plates.
Yet some matters are hard to overlook. A couple of weeks ago I was leaving work after 8 p.m. and noticed my vehicle looked as if it were physically moved outside of the parking lines.
I muttered to myself, wondering if I was imagining things. A few seconds later, a couple of guys tapped on my window.
Cynically, I thought they were panhandlers and hoped they didn’t have weapons. Perhaps it was the fact that it was dark, I was alone and I’ve read one too many stories in my line of work.
However, I cracked the window and went with my instinct to inspect the situation when they told me someone had just hit my car and sped off.
Failure to comply with requirements, striking an unattended vehicle and causing damages greater than $200 is something I’ve typed countless times for daily police reports. I was aggravated because I know it’s a misdemeanor offense and didn’t think the suspect or suspects would be caught.
When authorities called me and told me they caught the suspect and asked if I wanted their insurance information or to press changes, I said yes to both. To me, it seems like common sense — you damage another vehicle, you leave your contact information and insurance information.
Last week, I was again perplexed with drivers when covering a couple of Easter egg hunts. During a hunt Friday, I waited in the parking lot for 30 minutes observing drivers on cellphones before someone finally noticed my wait.
The following day I was grateful when an observant driver waved me into the line, and felt it was common courtesy to let in a few other drivers as well.
However, some started driving the wrong way, and others aggressively tried cutting people off from both the left and right.
At one point, I held up four fingers in a futile attempt to explain to a driver inches from hitting my vehicle that I let in four other drivers before them. I hope they didn’t think I was being obscene, since they couldn’t hear me.
At one point during the hourlong wait to get out of the park, which is only a couple of miles to the highway, I documented the craziness with a photo.
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that motorists will even adhere to unwritten common sense like pulling over for funeral processions or not cutting other motorists off when they can’t even comply with the written laws.
Traffic laws exist for both the safety of yourself and others. I should no longer be surprised that some motorists disregard both.
Rachael Riley covers Harker Heights and Nolanville for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact her at email@example.com or 254-501-7553.