Eastbound traffic on the Long Island Expressway in Melville.

Eastbound traffic on the Long Island Expressway in Melville. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

I recently took a 300-mile weekend road trip and experienced dozens of examples of illegal, unsafe, hazardous and discourteous driving. We have more than our share of dangerous drivers here [“3 pedestrians hit; 3 dead in weekend wrecks,” Long Island, May 7].

On my trip, I witnessed speeding at about 90 mph, weaving in and out of lanes while cutting off cars, tailgating and illegal entrances and exits in HOV lanes. When one driver cut me off, I gave him the horn, and he gave me the finger.

Several people have told me they will not drive on major highways because of these hazardous drivers. Something must be done to remedy this dangerous situation.

Are these solutions? More police on highways although it may be expensive, or flood highways with traffic cameras, but this is also expensive.

In Switzerland, when drivers stop at a red light, railway crossings and in traffic jams, they shut off their engines to save gas and reduce pollution. Can you imagine Long Island drivers doing this?

We must take back the roads for safe drivers.

— Dominick Livaccari, East Setauket

Ivy isn’t always a danger to a tree

People who say that “ivy will eventually kill the trees if nothing is done to prevent it” are not always correct [“Ivy-covered trees can be dangerous,” Just Sayin’, May 11].

Ivy will not help a tree that is already sick, weak or otherwise compromised and indeed may damage it. Ivy, though, will not always damage a healthy tree. Some authorities on the subject have said that ivy does not kill trees. It is a climbing vine, not a parasite. Its suckers do not penetrate bark.

Author Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall notes that ivy can be two different plants. A self-clinging climber, it crawls along the ground until it finds something vertical to ascend. When it can’t climb anymore, it becomes treelike — shrubby, stoutly branched, dense and heavy. It’s difficult for a tree trying to support all this in its crown. It is in this “arborescence” that ivy probably poses the greatest threat to trees.

The author cites an experiment in which half the oaks in a woodland plot were cleaned of ivy every 10 years, starting in 1890, and the others were left to suffer. In 1942, no difference could be discerned in height or girth.

As with many gardening questions, the real issue seems to be personal taste.

— Virginia C. Wilch, East Setauket

A time to celebrate older Americans

May is Older Americans Month, a time to recognize older Americans’ contributions. President John F. Kennedy designated May as Senior Citizens Month in 1963 after meeting with the National Council of Senior Citizens. Since then, every president has given a proclamation declaring May as the month to honor older Americans.

How to celebrate this? One can do this by volunteering, attending local gatherings or reaching out to loved ones.

— Frederick R. Bedell Jr., Bellerose

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