Slow Down and Pay Attention!

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Suffield recently completed a traffic survey to “effectively mitigate safety issues, infrastructure deficiencies, and identify educational opportunities to promote a safety culture for all travel modes.” The survey was completed with input from town residents and recommendations were provided including the addition of roundabouts and signage.

I am grateful for the study and hope the town moves forward with implementing some of these measures. I live on one of the streets included in the recommendations and have witnessed more accidents on either end of my street than I care to count, including one just recently.

Driving today, in my opinion, is one of the most dangerous things we do on a daily basis. At the risk of sounding like an old timer, I do not remember it ever being this bad. I am currently in the stress-inducing process of teaching my youngest to drive. She has her driving permit and loves to get behind the wheel. What I notice that I didn’t with my two older children, is the amount of aggression from other drivers when she is driving the legal speed limit in town. The number of cars that ride on her tail because they want to get somewhere faster is unnerving and dangerous.

My daughter is not the only new driver out there. Based on estimated class size there could potentially be 150 to 170 new young drivers in town alone this year. They are learning the ropes, following the safety rules, and training to operate 4000-pound machinery.

When behind the wheel it seems some people forget there are actual humans in the cars around them. I wonder if the drivers tailgating my daughter would do the same in other circumstances. In a grocery store, when they come behind an elderly man walking a little slowly, would they shove up behind them and scream at them to move faster? I would hope not.

It is a Pollyanna wish, but if we could just remember we are all human, even if hidden behind tinted windshields and metal. My grandmother used to say, “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry.” That quote always comes into my mind when we are being aggressively tailgated. For my daughter’s sake and for the sake of everyone just trying to get from point A to point B alive, slow down, keep a safe distance and drive like the cars around you are being driven by someone you love. Please.

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