11/21/05 — How we drive: Bad habits behind the wheel endanger innocent people

View Archive

How we drive: Bad habits behind the wheel endanger innocent people

The heartbreaking thing about the accident that put two Wayne County teenagers in the hospital this past week is that it did not have to happen at all.

And the tragic aspect of the story is that it could have happened in front of any school or on any street in the county on which children walk and play.

Set aside the details of the case involving the Greenwood Middle School students for a moment. There are some other, pretty serious issues there that also need to be addressed involving North Carolina driver’s licenses and penalties for those who choose to ignore the law regarding their use.

Those are discussions for later.

For now, the issue is driver responsibility.

There are way too many people in this county who speed through intersections and up and down some of this area’s residential streets.

Gunning the engine, even a little bit, to make a light before it turns red, fiddling with the cell phone while trying to navigate a street or even taking your eyes off the road for a second to change a radio station, all those are the makings of a potential tragedy.

These boys crossed the street properly, in a crosswalk and with the light. But children don’t always think clearly or act rationally when it comes to crossing the street. A little excitement or an errant ball, and they could be in the path of an oncoming car.

It only takes a moment of inattention to forever change someone’s life — or to end it.

There will be lots of talk during the next few days about how to prevent something like this from ever happening again.

And one of the first issues we all should consider is how we drive.

Slowing down, staying alert and observing yellow lights and other traffic signals are the best ways to keep our children — and ourselves — safe on the roadways.

And those goals are certainly worth the few extra minutes it might take to get to work.

Published in Editorials on November 21, 2005 10:40 AM