Thursday, 9/4/2020 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Driving me crazy

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Darren Blair

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The plan had been simple. My dad, a mechanic, is a state inspector. My car was due for its annual inspection. The shop where dad works is two towns over, and mom was looking to do some shopping there anyway. So, mom and I would hop in the car, go down the highway, get the inspection done, and then take care of the remaining errands.

We almost didn’t make it out of town.

It started when someone darted out of a fast food restaurant’s parking lot without stopping to check for traffic, forcing me to hit the brakes. Mom and I took a second to recover, and then tried to continue.

Further traffic woes continued, however. Rushing drivers made it difficult to safely get out from behind a transit bus that was doing 15 *under* the speed limit. Once I did get out from behind the bus, I found myself confronted with *multiple* drivers changing three lanes of traffic at once, including one person who shot in front of me with so little room to spare I nearly had to hit the brakes again.

The drive back home was better, but only because I was able to get in a single lane and ride it all the way back to town.

Folks, the holiday season is upon us. This means a lot of us will be doing a lot of traveling during this time. Much of this travel will take place on the roadways, whether we’re just going across town or all the way across the country. To this end, reckless driving is a danger to everyone who intends to hit the roads.

I’m sure we all know about drunk driving. Well folks, I’ve been on the scene of drunk-driving accidents. I ended up having to make the emergency services call on two of them since I was the first one there. In one of the two instances, the driver did not survive. So I know all too well the evils of drunk driving. Trust me on this one.

But there are other factors that go into safe driving as well.

For starters, even before you start off, make sure that you and your vehicle are in proper working order. Make sure that you’re as rested as possible and fully fit to drive before setting out; even over-the-counter medication can cause drowsiness or impaired actions, so don’t forget about that. As for your vehicle, have a reliable mechanic take a look at it to ensure that everything’s as it should be and you don’t have any concerns with reliability.

From there, make advanced preparations to travel. Get together what you’re going to need well ahead of time, including emergency items if you’re going to be traveling a ways; nothing like a blown tire to ruin the holiday if you’re not prepared for it. Make sure you know your route, and if you can afford one get a GPS to help out. And if at all possible, leave on schedule, or even early; even if you do hit traffic, you should well have plenty of time.

Then once on the road, focus on driving. Devices you don’t need should be put away. Ditto for other distractions.

After that, be mindful of the other drivers who are sharing the road with you. Take care to obey the traffic signage, and keep an eye on the other vehicles well ahead of when you have to change lanes. If possible, ask your passengers to help.

Arrive alive, folks. And help others do the same.

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