Editorial: Dodging Dodges in Dodge

Trent Ernst, Editor

 

Got an email from a friend the other day, who had just about been run over.

He says that if he had been a few feet farther ahead of where he was, approaching a corner, there was a very real chance of getting swiped by a truck.

The driver could not have seen who or how many people were on the sidewalk at the speed he came around the corner.

The driver lived only a few houses in, and my friend watched him pull into his driveway, so he went and mentioned that he had just about been run over. “The response I received was ‘that it was icy’.

Well, duh. That’s the point. It’s icy. And so you shouldn’t be driving like you’re om dry pavement. The stopping distance for icy conditions is as much as ten times the distance as for dry pavement. So, if someone is driving at 40 km, they can reasonably be expected to come to a full stop in about 40 feet on dry pavement. But when it’s icy? That can stretch out to as much as 400 feet.

Of course, my friend pointed this out, at which point he was told, to paraphrase, “don’t freaking tell me how to drive.”

At that point, says my friend, there is no productive things to say any more.

So he wrote me a letter instead, hoping that if I put it in the paper, it might make it through to people that now is not the time to be driving like a Villeneuve.

Indeed, now is not the time to be driving crazy. While the town is doing a fine job of getting rid of the snow, the fact is, visibility at corners is restricted right now because of the piles of snow. And, while my friend is a grown man and stands six feet tall, give or take, my daughter does not, and she’s out there walking to and from school, to and from the library, too.

I have worked hard to encourage both my kids to be very cautious when crossing the roads, but the fact is, they’re kids, and I worry that they aren’t quite as fastidious about it as I would like them to be. And I can’t help but wonder what would happen if they had their heads down just as someone came whipping around the corner.

It isn’t a pleasant thought, and you know what? It’s well within my rights to tell you how to freaking drive, because the person you hit with your truck could be my kid.

I know there’s a lot of parents out there who worry about letting their kids walk to school, because they’re worried about wildlife. You want to know how many people worldwide have been killed by bears in the last decade? 28. That’s in ten years, and that includes people like Timothy Treadwell, who basically walked up to the bears and said “eat me.”

You want to know how many pedestrians have died in one year (2010) in just the USA alone? 4,280.

In a week, more people are killed by vehicles in one country than killed in a decade by black bears and grizzly bears combined. So yes, I care about how the people in this town drive, because I don’t want anyone—child, parent, me—who is out for a walk becoming one of these statistics.

And I’m going to go out on a limb and say you don’t want to be that person knowing that, if you hadn’t been in such a hurry, if you would have slowed down, if you would have driven an appropriate speed for conditions, if you would have even just slowed down for the corners, you wouldn’t have to live with this guilt that eats at you for the rest of your life.

We probably have about two more months of this, so please, take care and drive safe. Thank you.