Editorial: Speeding on the roads isn’t my main concern…
Now before you get all in a frenzy about the topic of this editorial, I’m not condoning speeding at all (it is against the law). I am saying that speeding by itself isn’t what troubles me when I am on the highway. In fact, there are a lot more things a driver does that scares me more than speeding.
With a speeder (especially on a two-lane highway), I try to avoid them by navigating my vehicle in another lane. The first thing that irritates me is that when I make this move that speeder tries to switch to the exact same lane and try to pass me. That erratic driving scares me because that person’s hurry to go maybe five to ten minutes down the road may have resulted in an injury.
Another simple thing a driver can do is use a signal light when making a turn. It’s a simple flick of the wrist when a person wants to make a turn or even switch lanes. Instead, I may be traveling, and somebody wants to make a turn and only applies the brakes. Granted I am usually a good distance behind them, but there are instances when a person will make that turn either without applying a signal light or putting it on right as they turn. Remember, the signal light is a warning to other drivers that you’re about to execute a turning maneuver.
That leads me into the next issue of distracted drivers. Unfortunately, in 2015, I was a victim of a distracted driver accident when my car was sandwiched between two vehicles because the truck behind me smashed into my bumper. Thankfully I came out unscathed, but my car didn’t. Putting the phone down and waiting to call or text does save lives. There have been many instances when my coworker talks about how he is waiting to make a left-hand turn into the office’s parking lot and a vehicle runs right up onto his bumper and nearly collides with him because they weren’t paying attention. It doesn’t take much to ignore a call or text or even have somebody else respond. A person’s life outweighs a text.
Driving under the influence? Simply put, don’t do it! If you have even a sip of an alcoholic beverage or drugs in your system, you’re putting other people’s lives at risk along with your own. I’ve sat through two court cases early on in my journalism career and the pictures I’ve seen of victims who passed because of drunk driving weren’t pretty. Please don’t do it!
The final point I am going to make is about driving on a suspended license. (Yes, that’s against the law as well). There are instances when I cover court and there are people who have been convicted on multiple driving suspended offenses. I do believe in the future that the law will change and making a fourth or fifth offense a felony. I don’t want to see that happen, but it probably is coming down the pipeline. I say that because of chase that started in Charles City and ended in Henrico during the first half of 2017. When that driver was finally arrested, he was driving on a suspended license. However, it was his 18th offense! Eighteen! And it is still considered a misdemeanor and only carries 10 days of mandatory jail time.
I write this editorial to just wish you all a happy and safe holiday as you travel up and down the highways. Take a moment and pay attention to your surroundings. While others may be inconsiderate with their driving, you can be the influence and patience that others need in order to change their ways by setting a positive example on the roads.