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I drive down a street everyday to get home. I use this specific street because there’s a four way stop and it really helps me avoid traffic accidents down it and I just feel safer using it. There are no dividing lanes, shoulders or sidewalks.

Today a mom waves me over and accused me of speeding through their street every day, and says they are afraid their kids might get run over.

The other times I’ve come down the street if there are kids, I always stop to make sure they are out of the street before I go. (Personally I wish they didn’t let their kids play on the streets but I’m not a parent and don’t know their point of view)

I always go 20 mph, there is always a police officer monitoring people's speed around here. If I was speeding, he would catch me.

I don’t really know if they just want me to stop coming down this street (again, I mostly use it because I feel safer at the 4 way stop it leads to) but I have a feeling they are going to try and get their kids to purposely block the road or something if I continue coming down the street.

Is there a way I can talk to them so I can continue going down this street or I probably have to find a different path for now on?

[Edit 1] about the street, it’s in a residential area. The street is 1 turn away from the highway.

[Edit 2] Conversation with the mom went like this

Mom: You need to slow down, we have babies and the speed limit is only 20 mph.

Me: Yeah it's 20mph.

Mom: "It's only 20 mph." (I think she assumed I couldn't speak English???)

Me: I know that. (drives away)

And update, I've been going through the road a little slower when I see children there (10-15mph) otherwise if there's no kids (ie, it's raining usually the kids don't play outside) I just go the 20mph... so far. I still get some evil eyes from the parents when I use the street, but hopefully it's ok.

I do live in this neighborhood and even grew up here when the speed limit was 25mph. And we have had neighbors kids / neighbors play bad pranks like cover our car lights in black paint and put nails in our tires before which is mostly what worried me if the situation escalated, but luckily they seem reasonable?

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Is there a way I can talk to them so I can continue going down this street

There are a few points to make here:

  1. They cant stop you going down the street, only make it painful to do so
  2. You are not doing anything wrong
  3. Even though you are doing nothing wrong, it seems all they want is for you to take a little extra care and this means it will be quite easy to reassure them and solve the conflict.

Talking should not even be necessary. I would simply slow down to well below the speed limit when passing through their area. Especially if you can spot the parents or kids on the street. You can make it blatantly obvious that you are being extra careful when driving past without even speaking to them but if you wish to really make sure they get the point you could exaggerate how slow you are going and smile and nod/wave at them as you pass.

This will make them feel good and as though they have upheld their duty to their children in making the neighbourhood bubblewrap safe and also should make your interactions with them pleasant rather than the shocking rudeness you have experienced before.

If they don't notice your efforts and still call you over to complain about speed I would keep it simple and apologise saying that you will go slower from now on. Thats all they want from you and will happily leave you be once they feel that you understand. Putting up a fight (even though you are correct) will not lead anywhere, especially considering your goal is simply to pass through.

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Maybe you are speeding. You said 'I always go 20 mph', this may seem very slow when you are in a car, and were going 80 before, but when you are standing still and someone drives past you with that speed it seems very fast. A speed limit is the maximum speed you are allowed to drive somewhere if circumstances allow it.

Children have the right to play there, and you have to make sure they are safe. You should expect them to do something crazy like run on to the road from behind a parked a car, and you should still easily be able to stop.

Also keep in mind that many parents are a bit over-protective when it comes to their children. Slow down to about 5 mph when you get close to them, and they will probably be reassured and give you a friendly wave the next time.

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    Do the children really have the right to play on a road? – helvete Feb 7 '18 at 11:08
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    @helvete : In a residential area, with little traffic, and where almost all trafic consists of residents, I would say so. At least that was very normal when I grew up. Of course a busy road with a lot of people passing through is very different, nobody should let their children play there. – Orbit Feb 7 '18 at 13:36
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    Sorry, but no, kids do not have a right to play in the roads. Roads are for cars and bikes and other fast moving vehicles. Sidewalks (if they yield to pedestrians), yards, and parks are for kids. 20 MPH is awfully fast compared to a kid playing, but the answer is to remove the kid, not the car. – swbarnes2 Jun 19 '18 at 17:59
  • @swbarnes2: I disagree. The answer is to use some common sense and be a bit considerate towards others. The space outside our houses belongs to us all, and we should share it in a decent way. Kids playing on the sidewalk do sometimes run on to the street, that's why we should slow down if they are there. If there are only 4 or 5 cars an hour, kids can play in the street also, they just have to go to the sidewalk when a car comes. That way we can all live together in a pleasant way, and nobody has to be 'removed'. – Orbit Jun 20 '18 at 16:50
  • Parks belong to all of us, does that mean it's okay for everyone to drive their cars across them, in the name of sharing? No. Common sense is to let the fast things stay in their place, and kids stay in theirs. The kids can be considerate of others by staying out of the roads, and playing where it's safe, and they aren't in anyone way. – swbarnes2 Jun 20 '18 at 18:27
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A few thoughts:

  • Even if you are not speeding, try driving slower past there, out of respect. What does it cost you?

  • If you strongly feel that you don't want to do that, you could consider going a different route.

  • Mothers worry about their children's safety, that's pretty normal. But they could get quite upset if you got defensive or confrontational about it, because to them you'd be the guy getting angry about having to be careful not to harm her kids. Don't be that guy. General rule of interpersonal skills is don't escalate hostility. This applies even when the other person seems unreasonable (in fact that's the common case).

Try to be understanding and assure them that you take care, or just avoid them if you'd rather, or if it becomes clear the former approach isn't going to work.

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There are a few different issues here :

I drive down a street everyday to get home. I use this specific street because there’s a four way stop and it really helps me avoid traffic accidents down it and I just feel safer using it.

This actually suggests you have issues of confidence and/or anxiety driving.

You should not need to avoid a four way stop.

I'd actually suggest you consider dealing with this issue. You're really creating other problems to try and avoid what should be a non-problem.

Today some a mom waves me over and accused me of speeding through their street everyday and they are afraid their kids might get run over.

There's always one person who thinks they own the world and that what they think should be the way things are makes them right.

Ignore this sort of person. Plain and simple. No good will come from trying to talk to them - they really don't care what you think or can prove.

The other times I’ve come down the street if there are kids, I always stop to make sure they are out of the street before I go. (Personally I wish they didn’t let their kids play on the streets but I’m not a parent and don’t know their POV)

Again, you're avoiding the "normal" route for one set of fears and seem to have replaced those fears with another set.

Is this route really doing you any good ?

I always go 20 mph, there is always a police man metering the speed because around here. If I was speeding, he would catch me.

So your speed is a non-issue.

I don’t really know if they just want me to stop coming down this street

Some people feel entitled to this.

Personally I grew up on a street off the main road, but we played football and stuff and when the cars came you just got out of the way. I can't ever recall any parents every rushing out to complain to drivers. To us, yes, we got complained to by our parents for not being more careful.

They simply do not own the street and you are entitled to use it.

I suspect they'd like to discourage it being used as a short cut by lots of drivers, but that problem is one for politics. Berating individual motorists is just road rage.

(again, I mostly use it because I feel safer at the 4 way stop it leads to) but I have a feeling they are going to try and get their kids to purposely block the road or something if I continue coming down the street.

All of this is about your anxiety, IMO.

And of all of it the only one you can actually control is choosing to drive down that street or not.

Is there a way I can talk to them so I can continue going down this street or I probably have to find a different path for now on?

Talking to some of the parents might work out but you are most likely to find one or two who feel entitled to what they want and who will not listen, and will probably simply get angrier. That's my experience with similar situations.

All you can control is what choices you make. I really think you're avoiding some aspect of driving you are uncomfortable with but need to get to grips with, and your avoidance is causing you this other problem.

I strongly suggest learning to use the normal route.

If you shift to a different alternate route you'll likely find the same or another issue waiting.

Driving is about making choices and avoiding one problem is only a good choice if it doesn't cause you other problems.

I'd personally prefer to run the risk of a minor hold up or small bumper-to-bumper tap than to chance driving down minor roads with kids on them. Kids are erratic, they don't understand risks, they are harder to fix than a panel on the car or a dent. So I think you're picking the wrong risk to minimize here.

EIT : From a comment of the OP's :

No dividing lanes. So no shoulders and sidewalks.

This, IMO, makes the choice of this route exceptionally poor. And it explains the anger of the parent(s), albeit misdirected.

Under these conditions it is not a road I'd recommend driving down because, from a child's point of view, there is no dividing line between "safe" and "not safe" on this road.

A comment on my original answer asks if I've misunderstood the reason for avoiding the original route. I'd again suggest that the OP is replacing one problem (whether it's time or personal anxiety) with a bigger one (increased risk of car hitting a kid). I think this boils down to a poor driving choice, at least from what I've heard so far.

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    Maybe some misinterpretation here but I think they're choosing that route because it does have a four-way stop? That's how I've been reading it. I find many routes with only a two-way stop troublesome because during peak traffic, I may be stuck there for 5-10 minutes. – Catija Nov 17 '17 at 17:00
  • But the net effect is the same : choosing to avoid one problem by creating another. – StephenG Nov 17 '17 at 17:02
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    It's debatable that another problem is being created here, especially when it comes to driving and sometimes you can be 100% in the right and still get into an accident. This also shows that OP and the parents have the same intent in mind, to drive safety. I don't see how avoiding the conversation would help OP in the slightest, he has mentioned that he is nervous of a reaction and ignoring someone trying to protect their kids probably wont help. – Childishforlife Nov 17 '17 at 20:15
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    OP stops car and starts talking with parents - what's the plan when they simply won't agree ? Clearly this parent at least wants him gone and he claims he's already driving reasonably, and equally clearly the OP wants to drive here - these views are not compatible and all the OP can have from a conversation is the potential for escalation, possibly accusations of road rage or worse. The only outcome that works is that either the parent agree the OP is OK to drive there (seems unlikely) or the OP decides not to drive there (seems unlikely). – StephenG Nov 17 '17 at 20:31
  • @StephenG: I agree with your points +1 . But I wouldn't mix the thing OP asked with any hypothetical reasons (like anxiety) - I would just omit the first article of the post (as it is not related to the question). – helvete Feb 7 '18 at 11:18

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