Though we really get drawn to the spectacular or the horrific, are these what we see hurting or killing people day in and day out? We have all watched, as ships and aircraft comb the Indian Ocean, seeking clues into the disappearance of Malaysian Flight 370 and the 239 souls onboard. Despite this tragic situation, I still believe that air travel is one of the safest means of transportation known to man. On the other hand, road transportation, the mode used by most around the globe, tends to be what is hurting or killing a large number of people each and every day.
This winter has been a good one for hibernation. However, as the weather improves, more and more people begin to scurry about, making our highways busier and busier. More vehicles on the road cause each of us to have to drive more defensively. Though the possibility of an accident exists every time that you drive your vehicle, the probability increases during busy times, such as rush hour. Driving requires your undivided attention. In other words, driving cannot be coupled with distractions, such as sending a text, reading a text, looking for a phone number, disciplining children, messing with the radio, or just looking at something to the right or left. In a split second, you could find yourself off the right shoulder or across the yellow line and in the lane of oncoming traffic.
Vehicles are being built safer and safer. The problem is that this is a reactive measure to the mindset that vehicle collisions will occur. We see this as inevitable, instead of thinking that vehicle accidents can be avoided. Back to the safer thing for a moment, until manufacturers build a vehicle that performs everything for a person, it will never be safe enough. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have had to tell people that get into my vehicle to put their seatbelt on. The prime offenders seem to be those my age and up. People might say that seatbelts are uncomfortable, but the alternative might be to get ejected from the vehicle, or ejected inside the vehicle.
Another piece of this defensive driving puzzle takes into account construction zones and emergency vehicles. Whether or not speed limits are reduced in a construction zone, we need to slow down. You notice that highway construction personnel wear high visibility clothing, put out road cones, have bumper trucks and even have police officers, with their lights flashing; all of this to make things as safe as possible for road workers and motorists. The fire service has made it policy to respond multiple units to incidents on busy roadways to set up blocks for their personnel. Police officers are still doing traffic stops with one police cruiser. How many times have we seen or heard of police officers getting struck by vehicles, while performing a traffic stop? Some states have made it law that you must move over, when approaching an accident or emergency vehicles.
The bottom line is that you must do your part and I must do mine to drive defensively. I must have your safety in mind, as you must have mine. Though the law allows emergency vehicles the authority to, in a sense, do what is necessary to get around traffic, all must be done with due regard for the safety of others. Drive as though your loved ones are in the car beside, behind or in front of you. Stay safe, do not drive aggressively, put your seatbelts on and prevent accidents at all costs!