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The Hazardous Life of a PedestrianPosted Saturday, February 12, 2011, at 11:50 PM
I lived in a major city on the west coast for about twelve years after graduating from high school. I always hear people talk about those crazy city drivers, but I never had as many near accidents as both a driver and a pedestrian in my years there as I have in my four years since my return to Spencer. In the city, we HAD to be aware of our surroundings, as there were more cars, people, bicycles, and everything else to watch out for. Drivers here blow through stop signs, crosswalks, red lights, and through parking lots without even bothering to look. Shortly after arriving in Spencer, somebody backed out of a driveway right into my car. They claimed that they did not see me, despite my car being a brilliant shade of orange. So many times I've had to grab my child, dogs, or both and jump back up onto the curb because somebody is blowing a red light or stop sign, or pulling into the crosswalk. Then if you are lucky, you will be acknowledged with a smile and a wave. "So sorry I nearly killed or crippled you! Hope your day is blessed!"
The March 2011 issue of Parents magazine has an article called The Most Dangerous Drivers. In the article, the author sites a study by Safe Kids USA, where researchers watched more than 40,000 vehicles driven by both parents and nonparents in school zones. One of the most disturbing things noted was that the bigger and more potentially dangerous the vehicle, the more likely the driver was to have higher distraction scores. I guess if YOU feel safe, there is no reason to look around you and see what you might be running into.
As I stood dazed in the parking lot, I counted my lucky stars that my child and I were unhurt and in one piece. For a moment I wondered why I even bother teaching her not to run out into the parking lot, and to look both ways before stepping out. Perhaps her chances of survival will be greater if she is moving faster and more erratically. But alas, I will be a sensible parent and teach her what I should, and hope that the drivers around her do what they are supposed to do. I can see why fewer kids walk to school these days.
Please, just look where you are going when you are behind the wheel.
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Aimee graduated from Spencer High School in 1994, and then moved to a large city on the west coast. She returned to Spencer in 2007. Aimee spent more than a decade in veterinary medicine and dog training, and now works in a public library. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and a cat.
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