Lately it seems like folks are telling people who are heading out on our highways to “stay safe out there”, or they type at the end of an email or Facebook “have a safe trip”, and many of us send “be safe” in a text message if we have a friend about to embark on the game of chance we are all coming to expect when travelling by a main highway.
We’ve come a long way from the messages of old that our parents or loved ones used to dish out, “be back by supper time”, “remember to fuel up the car”, or “pick up milk on your way home”.
Seems like we are now living in a time when heading down the road means literally taking your life, and the lives of others, out for a real time action movie with you in the vehicle that might be part of the most impressive wreck scene.
Every time we make a trip into Kamloops we are far from entertained by the crazy antics of people who supposedly hold a current drivers licence. Passing on blind corners, ignoring solid lines and road signs, even passing on the right hand side shoulder of the road.
This summer my husband and I have personally seen so many near misses for commuters on our highways that it leaves me speechless (which believe me doesn’t happen very often).
If you have witnessed how the chain reaction of a moments inattention can have a lasting impact on families and lives it will stay with you forever.
Such an impact happened last Friday on Highway 5 in Louis Creek. Thank goodness no one paid for this with their life or the lives of others, but it is a lesson for everyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle.
This isn’t just a local problem, driving without due care and attention is everywhere these days; but closer to home it has a big impact when we know the folks who get hurt.
When our highway had an 80kmh speed limit folks pushed the limits to 100kmh. Now the speed limit is 100kmh – and you guessed it – if you are doing 110 you feel like you’ve thrown the anchor out because you are often the slowest one out there.
And then there are the drivers who just can’t resist holding a cellphone to their ear, or taking their eyes off the road to send a text message, punch in GPS coordinates, or get directions from Google.
Added to the mix are the highway drivers who have their dog sitting between them and the steering wheel, the women drivers using the rear view mirror to put on their mascara, and even a guy slapping peanut butter or something on a slice of bread with a knife while travelling at 100 clicks.
Then we have to consider drivers dealing with being inebriated from alcohol or drugs, emotional distress, illness, mechanical failure, kids fighting in the back seat, the dog barking endlessly, the coffee spilled in the lap, or the chucked lighted butt that just flew back in the window.
It’s amazing that any of us get home at all.
Stay safe out there.