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EDITORIAL: Watch out for children

For 19 years, Janet Melanson has been a constant for schoolchildren crossing Truro’s roads. From left, Janet Melanson, Heidi Nicholson and her children, Ila and Ben, who attend Truro Elementary School.
When school starts again, there will be more children on the road and even more reason to pay attention to your driving. — SaltWire Network file photo

It is the calm before the storm.

It’s the very eve of September, and for parents of school-aged kids, it’s all about to begin again.

Packing school lunches, girding for fights over homework, the trials, travails and drama of new friendships and schoolyard spats — it’ll be out there in all of its glory, starting in just a few days.

For the first few weeks, it will be the usual turmoil: getting back on schedules that include either school drop-offs or making sure everyone’s out by the road in time for the passing school bus, dealing with things forgotten or deliberately left behind, all as the days grow shorter and darker. Sometimes, as a parent, it feels like there’s no help in sight.

But there’s one thing we can all help with.

Next week, there are going to be kids on the road — it’s an unavoidable fact. Traffic flows, post-summer, are also going to be higher than they have been for months.

The combination of those two factors mean very real risks, risks that all drivers, can do something about.

We shouldn’t have to say this, but put your phone down. There is absolutely no reason for you to be in constant contact with the world as you drive to work. And that includes checking your phone while you’re stopped at red lights, because they don’t stay red, and jumping right back into driving without checking your surroundings is a recipe for an accident.

Next week, there are going to be kids on the road — it’s an unavoidable fact. Traffic flows, post-summer, are also going to be higher than they have been for months.

You’re not an emergency room’s on-call surgeon being called upon for a life-saving consult — and if you are that surgeon, you’ve probably operated on someone who was injured as a result of someone else’s cellphone addiction.

Turning right on a red light? Make sure you actually look to your right, every time. The traffic you’re concerned about may be coming from your left, but pedestrians, especially small ones, could be walking right in front of you as you begin to roll.

Wind back your road rage. Yes, there are stupid drivers. There always have been. Don’t add to the problem.

The light’s yellow? Thinking about stopping instead of squashing the gas and trying to be the last one through. Kids are rushing, too, and can be off the curb the moment their light turns green.

Leave yourself extra time to get where you’re going, so you don’t end up rushing. Focus on getting where you’re going instead of on what you’re actually doing behind the wheel.

And finally?

Slow down.

Slow down.

Slow down.

As was aptly pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, your smug satisfaction about getting to work with 30 seconds to spare after that late start will be more than wiped out on the day that you hit someone along the way.

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