Roadways are only as safe as we make them

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2009

Anyone driving on the Kenai Penin-sula this summer has, no doubt, run into a slowdown. Be it from construction, tourists, fishing or an accident, there's been plenty of stop-and-go traffic of late.

A journey to Anchorage on a weekend during July has resulted in multiple slowdowns for many. Unfortunately, some of them have halted traffic for hours, and those were for accidents -- including ones where people have died.

Alaska has a special draw in the summer. It means fishing, wildlife and lots of daylight. It also means tired drivers and, at times, a lack of concentration. We've all been there. Some of us have just been more fortunate than others.

In the last week, there were three fatalities from vehicle accidents either on the peninsula or involving peninsula residents.

That's three too many.

We all like to think we're safe drivers, and, for the most part, we are. But it doesn't take much when you're tired to miscalculate a distance or an oncoming vehicle's speed and make a bad judgment call. Unfortunately, it only takes one.

The bottom line is, if you're tired, pull over. Take a nap or get out and stretch your legs. Forty winks can do wonders, and so can fresh air.

Sure we want to get where we're going, and we want to get there sooner than later, but if we don't focus on getting there safely, then we might not make it there at all.

And it doesn't matter if you're heading to Anchorage or the corner store, accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. A moment's lapse can be costly no matter where you are, and the loss of a life isn't just something the family has to live with. The impact on everyone involved is permanent.

For those who lost their lives in last week's tragic accidents, it's too late to change the outcome. For those of us getting into a vehicle today, stay alert. Be aware of your surroundings.

Common sense is the best defense against accidents. This means slow down and increase the distance between your car and other traffic. Slowing down not only drops your chances of locking bumpers or getting a ticket, it just may save a life.

At least think about it the next time you get behind the wheel -- for everyone's sake.

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