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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I was pleased to see the letter in your column referring to the commercial showing two "ladies" driving aggressively to get a parking space ahead of each other. The third time we saw it, my husband and I decided to disconnect the television cable.

Whatever happened to "let others go first" and "do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? How can I teach my grandchildren to be polite when selfishness is presented as "sport"?

I refuse to buy a vehicle from a company that uses such advertising, even if it means keeping my old car. -- ANN VANCE, GREENWOOD, MISS.

DEAR ANN: The writer of that letter was Valerie Rivard. Her letter struck a chord with many people. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are professional freight truck drivers. When a new auto ad comes on the air, we know we will see that kind of driving within 24 to 48 hours. People seem to think that if the driver in an ad can drive that way, they can, too. Because it didn't happen in the commercial, they fail to take into account that their reckless driving could cause a crash! We see it all the time.

One ad showed a car pushing through three big rigs as it came on the highway, cutting off at least one of them and almost sideswiping another. The driver in the ad gets away with it! What kind of example does that set for teen-agers and new drivers?

Please, everyone: Drive in a defensive, courteous, legal, professional manner. The result will be safe and happy roads for all. -- HENRY A. PASCOE, HARP TRANSPORT INC., SNOHOMISH, WASH.

DEAR HENRY: Hear, hear! Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Being a teen-ager myself, I can tell you that commercials for "fast" cars do not encourage me to drive fast. They are meant only to show the maneuverability of the vehicles. Some people actually drive off-road for a living and appreciate a car that can perform sharp turns.

I do not believe that these commercials send subliminal messages to make young drivers drive faster or recklessly. Anyone of any age can drive fast and irresponsibly. -- TIFFANY IN WICHITA FALLS, TEXAS

DEAR TIFFANY: I agree that anyone of any age can have a lead foot and drive recklessly. Unfortunately, too many people do. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I see many SUV and car commercials portraying vehicles driving off-road, driving through streams and nature. This is an irresponsible message to send to people. Off-road driving is extremely destructive to our environment. Why can't car companies promote good citizenship while they market their cars? -- SICK OF SUVS IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR SICK: Good point; good question. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I have also become angry while watching those ads. Driving is portrayed as a competitive blood sport. To even suggest that there is something "glamorous" about ignoring traffic regulations and common civility borders on the criminal.

What can we do to get auto manufacturers and their ad agencies to stop contributing to the anarchy and carnage on the roads? Would a letter-writing campaign to car companies and their ad agencies be of any use? How about a boycott of the most irresponsible manufacturers? -- MAD IN ATLANTA

DEAR MAD: I can think of no more effective way to communicate that message than by opening one's pen and closing one's checkbook.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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