Stay safe by looking out for yourself, others

By: Ed Bonner, Placer County Sheriff
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I recently had the misfortune of being at the hospital to visit a friend who had been hit by a car and critically injured. As I left the hospital I was contemplating how a person’s life can be changed in a blink of an eye. I looked around as I drove and saw there were a lot of pedestrians, young and old, either walking like my friend had been or on bicycles having fun and enjoying their day. I realized – school is out and summer is here. Yes, summer is here, kids are out of school and more people are out on foot or on bicycles enjoying the nice weather or in their cars traveling the roadways. What happened to my friend could have happened any time of the year, but it happened on the first day of Memorial Day weekend – the official start of summer. We all need to be proactive in our own safety as well as protecting the safety of others. With that in mind, I offer for your consideration a few safety tips for keeping you, your family and the innocent pedestrian from harm. You have probably heard these before, but you can never be reminded enough how easy it can be to stay safe: • Buckle Up. This is the most important step for keeping you safe while driving. • Don’t use the cell phone and don’t text while driving. It is against the law, but more importantly, distracted driving is deadly. • Keep your eye on the road and don’t be distracted by what is happening inside your car. Remember, distracted driving is deadly. • Don’t drive while tired. If you are having a hard time staying focused on the road, pull over and take a break. Stretching your legs and breathing fresh air for even a few minutes can clear your head and re-energize you. • Don’t eat while driving. If you are hungry, stop to eat. Remember, distracted driving is deadly. • Make sure your visibility isn’t hampered by dirty windows and that your windshield wipers are working properly in the rain. • Don’t drive while angry. An angry driver is an aggressive driver. • To keep you safe, keep your car in good condition. Check tires, inspect the engine, battery and fluids, test lights and wipers and carry an emergency roadside kit. Automobile accidents can leave in their wake shattered bodies as well as the shattered lives of both the victim and their family. One definition of “accident” is “an unfortunate event resulting especially from carelessness or ignorance.” The more aware we are of what it takes to be safe on the road and how what we do or don’t do can affect the lives of others, maybe we can be less careless and less ignorant of the responsibility we have when behind the wheel. If we all work together to bring safety to our roadways we may all be able to stay out of hospital waiting rooms.