We’ve been hammered with a rash of extreme weather conditions lately. We’ve experienced minus 35 degree temperatures, dangerous wind chill, freezing rain, fog and even plus temperatures. These fluctuations play havoc with road conditions even for those of us who’ve been driving a long time.
The news media brings us information on road conditions and weather forecasts. We watch interviews with auto mechanics who give advice on car maintenance. We hear horror stories about the wait for a tow truck. Police spokesmen implore us to slow down, stay home, be careful because they see the horror of things gone wrong. We watch rescue squads extricate victims from car wrecks. We recall Dr. Louis Francescutti, an injury prevention and emergency room physician talking about the preventable carnage we seem to tolerate in this province.
Many of us seem to be glibly sliding through life thinking and acting like we’re immortal. Some people routinely run stop signs, especially in rural intersections, especially when they think they can get away with it. I know this is learned behaviour because I’ve seen three generations in one family doing it.
Other people still don’t get the seatbelt thing or the drinking and driving thing. We see news reports, candlelight vigils by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, teddy bear and flower shrines at the scene of fatalities. We read obituaries, attend funerals, visit people in hospital. Yet some still don’t get it.
As I drove to work at speeds between 60 and 80 kilometers an hour and had fools passing me during whiteouts and black ice I wondered what, if anything, they were thinking. What the hell is the big hurry?
It occurs to me that if you don’t have the time to stop at stop signs or drive according to road conditions you probably don’t have time to wait for a tow truck or ambulance or hearse either. If you can’t figure out that you need to leave earlier to get there how will you plan for the physiotherapy appointments? If you don’t understand the dangers of tailgating and passing while unsafe will you understand the concept of lost productivity when you’re off work getting estimates for body work, borrowing a vehicle, visiting doctors and medicentres. If you can’t follow the commonsense stuff like driving sober with a seat belt on, how can we trust you to understand the cost of your actions – the cost of property damage, pain and suffering, fines and court appearances, increased insurance rates? Or the sucking up of precious health resources like emergency room space, x-rays and other diagnostics, blood products, chiropractic, physio, and other rehab. Or the deployment of emergency response people like police, ambulance and firefighters to the scene of your error in judgment.
It seems to me that there are better ways to spend your days and your dollars than in reaction to some unwise driving decisions. Take time to think, it’s the only smart thing to do, from where I sit.
*Reprinted with permission