As we arrive in yet another year, it’s time for a few New Year resolutions. If you’ll indulge me, I have a suggestion for one of them this year. 2022 needs to have a little more happiness than the last two seem to have severely missed and I have tips to make it happier.
On top of Covid issues, Colorado has been getting hit hard with record breaking fatal crashes. Each morning I receive a report that lists all of the fatal crashes in the state that happened the day before. There are days we receive up to five people who have lost their lives. This is awful and doesn’t have to be this way.
I have been working our roads for 18 years, and have covered a lot of fatal and injury crashes. I can honestly say that not one of them happened without some form of careless driving. So, this time I’ll focus on talking about being careful when driving. Because sometimes all it takes is a small event that no one would believe will cause a crash.
It can be something as simple as tuning the radio to a new station, talking to a passenger, looking at something on the side of the road, eating, even daydreaming, anything that divides your attention from the road. Most of these crashes have one thing in common beyond the distraction: the vehicle went out of its lane because of the distraction. So please give driving the attention it needs and deserves. There is nothing worth your life.
When drivers drift out of their lane, even if it’s only a little bit, or for a short amount of time, it can have huge ramifications. Often the driver over corrects and they lose even more control of the vehicle. Sometimes they strike a vehicle coming the other direction. They go down embankments, impact trees or over-turn. All of these add to the severity of a simple unintentional action.
For those drivers that do keep their full attention to driving, I want you watching out for those that aren’t fully paying attention to the road. You can still be doing everything right and have another driver hit you. Try to keep these tips with you when driving.
Always look past your hood. I’m still surprised at how many people slam their brakes on at the last second because they didn’t look far enough past their vehicle and were shocked to see an obstacle in the roadway. Another important item is watching for vehicles drifting into your lane whether it be the same or opposite direction. On interstates watch for vehicles that have lost control and might be coming across a median.
My message comes down to enjoy the ride, but be aware of your surroundings and you’ll be around a long time to remember the fun times.
As always, safe travels!
By MASTER TROOPER GARY CUTLER
Colorado State Patrol
Special to the Herald Times