State Road 40 is a two-lane highway which is a main route from the west to the east that offers a scenic view through the Ocala National Forest and eventually ending at State Road A1A in Ormond Beach.
Just a 25 mile stretch of this Florida highway in Marion County, leading from Dunnellon to Ocala offers drivers everything from speeders to tailgaters and acts of road rage. It can be a rogue driver's dream and a general motorist's nightmare.
For the law-abiding citizen, every day brings the dealings of dangerous drivers passing across the yellow lines, on a hill, at speeds of 80-90 in a 55 MPH zone. For those drivers doing 55, they will see those who will stick close to their rear bumper, sometimes just inches away.
Acts of road rage are common, such as speeding by, cutting back in front of you and then slamming on their brakes. Night time is the worse. You can see the vehicle coming up fast behind you and you know things are only going to worsen.
As it hugs your bumper, it continues to weave in and out of the travel lane, waiting for that precise moment that it can pass by. As it does so, their window is down and shouts of hate are being spewed at you as the passenger is hanging out the window; your only crime is that you are doing 55 in a 55.
Of course, the state is known for its law-breaking and dangerous drivers as in the case of Sarasota and Bradenton, two of the worst cities, but vacationers may be unaware of the dangers of such an isolated and scenic highway in central Florida.
With a population of 258,900 and covering a 1,663 square mile area, Marion County is ranked as the 23rd worst in violent crimes out of Florida's 67 counties. The county's sheriff's department has only .72 patrol deputies per 1,000 residents while the statewide average is 1.7 deputies, placing the department over 300 officers short.
Law enforcement cannot be everywhere so for now, speeding, tailgating and road rage will all just be part of another day for the general traveler on Florida's State Road 40.