I know everybody knows how important it is to be careful on the road. But I have to tell you, I am just sitting here wondering what the heck is going on!
Where I live, there have been fatal car accidents nearly every day since last Friday. It is astounding! In such a populated area that we live in, although there is plenty of countryside and wide open spaces, our highways are interlaced with high-speed interstates and little two lane country roads. Some of our bigger cities in the area have very dangerous intersections, where we have often seen accidents. But something has happened here in the last few days that has really captured my attention.
Most of these accidents were totally avoidable. Take the small car that literally plowed into the back of a school bus yesterday morning at an estimated speed of 55 mph. Both young men in the car were killed. No one, thankfully, was injured seriously on the school bus. That is a miracle when you consider that the bus was STOPPED, with its stop sign arm out, and it’s lights flashing. While my heart is obviously broken for the young men who died, and their families and friends, the initial police report stated that there may have been alcohol involved. That early in the morning…
Then, Saturday afternoon, a father fell asleep at the wheel and crashed, killing his two young sons and injuring he and his wife. So very tragic. And so very unneccessary. For why do people drive when they are sleepy? And why in the daytime is someone driving in that condition? Two innocents lost their lives. We know the father, and the mother too, will forever regret getting into that car that day. But here is the clincher…news today said the father was driving under a ‘permanently revoked driver’s license’. He has had repeat offenses over the years. Yet still he was behind the wheel. You know the mom had to know this. And now their sweet children are gone.
Another school bus was involved in a turn over accident last Friday, during the morning pick up. The driver, who had a lot of experience behind the wheel of a bus, was driving fine, but failed to slow down on a curve that had a very visible sign showing that drivers should slow to 40 mph. Now, a car might have taken that curve at a high rate of speed without any problem whatsoever. But a school bus? Those big bulky things? Wouldn’t you think an experienced driver would know how her vehicle handles, have a ‘feel’ for how it would take that curve? But no, she plowed on and turned the bus over. Nobody was injured seriously, but she has been suspended from her job. And rightly so. I mean her no harm, but again, lives were at stake.
As soon as we get into a vehicle, if we are driving or riding, we are charged with the responsibility to safeguard those riding in the vehicle, and those who are not. A car is not only a danger to those inside it, but it can quickly turn into a deadly weapon to others, on the road, in their homes, in their front yard. There are myriad stories of cars plowing into someones home and killing them as they sat watching TV. Or kids playing outside, carefree and happy, laughing one minute, dead or injured the next, because of someone else’s negligence.
It is up to us to use good judgement. We know not to text and drive. We know to leave the phone on the floor until we can safely pull over to retrieve it. We know our makeup can be applied when we arrive at our destination. We also know not to drink alcohol, do drugs, or go without adequate sleep when we get behind that wheel.
I said earlier that we are responsible even if we are simply riding. That’s true! If you knowingly get into a car with someone who should not be driving, you are just as guilty as they if something goes wrong. If you allow someone to drive recklessly, you need to get out of the car. If they won’t let you out, then you need to use that cell phone to call 911 and report it. You, yes, you, are responsible.
So think about the kids on the two school buses I just described. Consider their shock and fear. Think about how these stories may have been written differently. Tragedy is only a second away. So many drivers, so many vehicles, so many people. Some very responsible, some not so much, some not at all.
What kind of driver/rider will you choose to be?