Driving in Omaha is infuriating and dangerous
May 25, 2022
As a fairly new driver and as someone who is very opinionated, there are several elements of driving in Omaha that make driving both terrifying and frustrating. Just about everyone who has ever entered my car has heard me complain about at least one of these things because, as I said, I am very opinionated on these issues. While I may be irritated by many aspects of driving, I am very grateful to have the opportunity to have my own car and be able to drive myself places. I am not actually infuriated about these issues, I just have fun complaining about nitpicky details of everyday life because I have nothing better to do, I guess.
One way streets downtown:
Like many Central students, I have to drive in the downtown area basically every day of my life to get to and from school. From doing that, I have noticed how an overwhelming majority of streets in the area are one way. While I get why these one-way streets are in place, they just feel very dangerous. I have many friends who have made the mistake of turning the wrong way, putting these drivers in a dangerous position. While I know there is little that can be done about these streets, I just personally think that they are very dangerous and often very confusing.
The ORBT on dodge:
While efficient in theory, the ORBT in practice is very inefficient and creates traffic jams on one of the already most traffic-prone streets in the city. In the middle of the day, when the ORBT has the most frequent routes, it creates major traffic jams. The idea of having a bus that resembles a subway system with frequent stops may have seemed like a positive idea. However, during peak rush hour on Dodge, the massive ORBT busses take up an entire lane due to their constant stops and slower speed. With Dodge already being under constant construction, the ORBT system can definitely hold up commutes for Omaha drivers. While the idea of the transportation system makes sense, its execution is very flawed.
The intersection at Happy Hollow and Dodge:
When I first started driving, I never expected it to lead to me being such an opinionated and critical driver. I especially never thought that would lead me to have a least favorite intersection. While it may sound silly and overdramatic, this intersection absolutely destroys every previous belief I had about my skills on the road. Something about the crossing over of about five or six different and very populated streets in a very confusing manner makes me completely avoid the intersection all together. Again, my confusion with the intersection may just be the consequence of still being fairly new to driving, but I feel like I will forever hate the intersection out of spite.
Obviously not all pedestrians are the problem, however, many pedestrians rely so heavily on the fact that they have the right of way that they put themselves in dangerous scenarios to just get across the street. For example, one time when I was driving down Saddle Creek, two men ran to the middle of the street and stood in the middle of the road until they had the chance to cross the other two lanes. Another time when I was driving downtown, a woman sprinted in front of my car with little warning. This instance was not even on one of the main roads downtown where foot traffic is very common. I have noticed many people just crossing the street without even looking. Often, they are looking at their phone or even just staring at the ground. I get that pedestrians have the right of way but honestly, they have to realize that sometimes it is difficult for large heavy vehicles to stop on a dime because the pedestrian decided to sprint across the street with little thought. However, while in some scenarios these instances may be completely the pedestrians’ fault, I think the main reason that we have so many pedestrian-related accidents is because Omaha lacks a safe foot traffic system and instead caters to drivers.
Other people on the road:
Possibly the biggest and juiciest cherry on top of driving in Omaha is the utter stupidity of other Omaha drivers. I have seen countless offenses of running red lights and stop signs, going seemingly 50 miles over the speed limit, texting and so much more. Every day that I drive to school, I get to experience the melting pot of terrible drivers. I am convinced that everyone in Omaha needs to retake their drivers test at this point because it’s just so concerning how unsafe the Omaha roads are.