The Herald Bulletin

September 17, 2013

Editorial: Driving is not a part-time hobby

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The recent tragic deaths of area residents in traffic accidents should give us all pause to reflect on our own driving habits.

On Sept. 4, a head-on collision killed two men in one vehicle on their way to work as day laborers on a farm.: 37-year-old Oscar Cardenas and 59-year-old Antonio Perez. Three others were injured.

On Sept. 10, two others were killed and three injured when a car ran a stop sign near Middletown. Killed were Clifton Shane Thompson, 28, and Caroline Bateman, 22.

The first was an early morning crash; the second came after the work day ended.

And that only tells us to remain alert no matter what time of day we’re driving.

The other basics are simple: Wear a seat belt; don’t tailgate; avoid distractions in the car; and leave early so you’re not racing to get somewhere on time. If you see a traffic tie-up ahead or hear of one on the rush hour radio show, use an alternate route. Of course, don’t drink and drive.

But one lesson is hard amid all this: Patience.

Too often we underestimate the time it will take us to negotiate from our homes to the store or work. Too often we’re aware of construction project ahead of us but we fail to show courtesy or concern for workers and other drivers facing the same tie-ups. Too often we think we’ve been driving for years, even decades, and that our ability to be careful has become innate.

Driving is not an assumption-based hobby. It is an acquired skill that demands our fullest attention — such as making sudden adjustments for weather changes or pulling up behind a driver who is texting.

Patience can’t always prevent a head-on collision or the person who runs a stop sign. But patience reminds us that we’re not the only people on the road.

Take a deep breath. Slow down. Enjoy the ride. It might prevent tragedy.

In summary Several recent fatal or serious auto accidents in the Madison County area point to the need for driver safety.