Summer is here and I know all of us in the valley are aware of the influx of people from out of town that support our local businesses, our national park, and our communities. I also think most of us are aware of the increased traffic that is on our roadways. But for some reason this summer, this influx of traffic has seemed to have turned downright out of control to me.
I want to focus specifically on the portion of U.S. Highway 2 between Hungry Horse to West Glacier. It has become downright dangerous.
I do not know if the solution would be to lower the speed limit on the highway on this portion during the summer or if an increased patrol of the area would help, but something needs to be done.
I commute from Whitefish to Coram daily for my job and every time I go to work it feels like I am taking my life into my own hands and I am not driving through our small communities of Hungry Horse and Coram, but on the Indy 500. Few drivers seem to pay any attention to the speed limit. Then throw in the weaving in and out of lanes without turn signals, riding the rear bumper of cars going the speed limit, and the erratic and dangerous weaving in and out of lanes when a vehicle in front of them turns on their turn signal to make a turn off the highway, it is downright dangerous.
During the summer months a plethora of locally owned businesses open their doors to the influx of visitors, right off the highway, on this stretch.
A number of our community members live on roads that are right off the highway. There are RVs, boat trailers, and horses in tow to visit the areas that are right off the highway.
A highway that travels through communities where people walk their dogs, children ride their bikes, and people live. A highway that has very few turning lanes, a thin berm, hardly any center lanes, and a speed limit that is set too high, in my opinion, for the increase in traffic volume that no driver seems to adhere to.
I honestly can say I feel fear when I have to make a left onto the highway from my work establishment.
There is no center lane so I try to make it into a small turning lane and wait for an opportunity to go from a dead stop to joining in with the traffic flow; with cars flying by me without slowing down that make my car shake.
Every local I have spoken to has had at least one close call with getting hit by traffic that doesn’t slow down while they are trying to turn down their road off the highway just to make it home.
I have seen very little patrol on this portion of the road that is becoming more like a racetrack. I fear it is only a matter of time before a family turning into their campground, a motorcyclist, or local gets killed in a collision due to high speeds and driving negligence from other drivers.
I understand people are from out of town but they are flying right through our small communities with no regard to the people that live there. Something needs to be done.