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Drive the Conversation About Road Safety

Posted by Evelyn Kidd on

I stepped into a crosswalk near my home, about to get groceries while enjoying fresh air and exercise, when in a flash a white sedan emerged from my left side and bumped into me. I was super freaked out, because I had never been hit by a car before and I’ve been a pedestrian in my city since 2005.

The driver did not stop to check on me. My thigh hurts a bit initially, but I opted not to get medical care because the car didn’t hit me very hard. Instead, I filed a police report and the police told me the driver will be fined and their license suspended.

Cars are essentially two-ton weapons on wheels, and I'm lucky their driving mistake wasn't worse.

For around four years, I have not owned a vehicle. It was stolen from outside my house, and luckily I had theft insurance so I was paid out the BlueBook value for it.

Living without a car in a big city freed me from the costs of vehicle maintenance, gas, and general mayhem that comes with driving in bad traffic.

However, I've learned as a pedestrian that drivers are the new enemy. They’re more distracted by technology than ever before, possibly under the influence (THC just became legal in Washington), stressed out in the current economy, navigating the rain-drenched roads in heavy traffic, and lacking good judgement in general.

Among the many reasons to not be behind-the-wheel anymore includes vision problems, driving while drowsy, drifting into other lanes, and signaling incorrectly.

caregiver.org (https://www.caregiver.org/dementia-driving) offers advice for the loved ones of a relative or friend who should no longer be driving, including people with dementia and the elderly.

You can help by monitoring the driver’s behavior, or ask them to join you on a drive and ask them to call out important safety maneuvers, such as using their turn signal or looking for pedestrians.

With the growth of delivery and taxi services, it’s getting easier to live without a vehicle. Hairdressers can visit the individual in their home, and groceries can be delivered.

More extreme methods, if changing their driving habits isn’t an option, is to discourage the individual from driving. This includes selling their vehicle or hiding their keys. 

There are no excuses to hit a pedestrian in a crosswalk. The person who hit me was also clearly not obeying the law by not checking on me. Would it have been so hard to lower their window to ask if I was okay?

If you think your loved one may be exhibiting poor driving behavior, it may be time for important discussion about whether they should be behind-the-wheel. 

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