- Special Sections
- Public Notices
As one who learned and continues to practice defensive driving, I am constantly aware of the need to exercise the three C's of driving: courtesy, caution and common sense.
And, as one who travels the rural and interstate highways, I frequently see those drivers who don't adhere to those safe rules of the road. I've shared some of the things I've witnessed drivers do within the city limits and along Highway 72 that are very risky and dangerous.
They are passing on inclines and in curves; in no passing zones and speeding unnecessarily. Just two weeks ago, on Highway 72, after having just crossed into Chester County about 11 a.m., a black Lexus SUV pulled out in front of me with me being less than five seconds away from him. He just pulled out in front of me from the business across from Fishing Creek Church Road, causing me to have to brake hard. I began blowing my horn and he had the audacity to make obscene gestures at me with his right hand while speeding beyond 70 mph. Guess where he was going? To Chester! (I did get his license plate number once we got into Chester at the light.)
I've been saying for years that most "accidents" are not accidents but intentionals. An accident is an unforeseeable incident such as when a tire blows, such as with my sister a few years ago in Richland County. An accident is when the driver suffers a seizure or heart attack at the wheel and dies causing the occurrence. Or, when the brakes go out or weather conditions create untoward circumstances that increase the risk or danger of something happening. These are unforeseen.
Most accidents are not due to weather or blown tires or medical conditions. They are due to human error or humans disregarding the common sense rules of the road. Speeding is probably the most common violation. How many times has someone zoomed past us just to get to the next corner where we all have to stop? Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is another biggie. Eating, talking on the phone, reading, texting, putting on make-up or otherwise being distracted are some of the other flagrant violations of the safety rules. Driving while angry is another. So is being stupid. Inexperienced and unlicensed drivers are another factor.
There has been a recent rash of accidents along these highways, some on Interstate 77, resulting in serious injury and/or fatalities. Most recently, and so close to home, Chester lost one of its elementary school sons in a very tragic hit and run accident. Sincere condolences unto the Bell family. A few weeks prior, Chester loctician Cynthia R. was involved in a bad crash that totaled her friends' truck resulting from a drunken driver running the light in North Carolina.
It was last year when the two ladies from Chester survived the I-77 wreck when they were nearly run over by a truck that resulted in a fireball of a calamity?
A few months ago, Rock Hillian Mr. Agurs was enroute to work on 77 North when he was fatally injured in an accident. I had met the Agurs family in the 1980s. There was the college student who'd recently graduated Winthrop.
About a month ago, after performing at Charlotte's Rosedale Plantation, LATIBAH Theatre Ensemble performer Coleysteine Beane` and I were returning to Chester around 7 p.m. We'd just merged onto I-77 South when the expressway came to a grinding halt. All lanes were shut down as there'd been a massive, multi-car pile up spanning three lanes. Law enforcement was present but they and the emergency personnel just kept arriving along the right shoulder. My first thought was "Oh, no! This is gonna be a long night -- is there enough gas for this?"
One car by the left wall was so badly mangled that we wondered if anyone could have survived such devastation? An officer was walking a little girl along the shoulder. Traffic was everywhere. My heart went out to those involved in such destruction.
The magnitude of the scene dictated that the backed up traffic had to be moved in order for the emergency vehicles to have unencumbered access to the large site. Because we were so close to the actual accident, we were among those allowed to move and leave the site. I was grateful.
I'm told that driving is not a right but a granted privilege. It is to our advantage to be able to drive (that is what cars are for) for purposes of transportation but also for the enjoyment of it. Remember those Sunday afternoon drives just for the sake of them?
Much of the enjoyment has been removed from the art of driving by the sheer numbers of vehicles on the road but moreso by the intrusive thoughtlessness of those drivers who consider driving their right and the road theirs. The term "road rage" had to be coined to halfway describe the stupidity and danger that some drivers engage in. And, once the act is done, it cannot be undone.
Even if I have the "right" to drive, I don’t have the "right" to involve anyone else in my recklessness. I don't have the right to use the vehicle as a weapon. I don't have the right to bring hurt, harm or danger to anyone. And, excuses don't exempt me from that responsibility.
My grandmother, Maggie B., would always say, "Let a fool be a fool all by hisself." The problem is that others' foolishness is dangerous on the highways and involving innocent people. Please, let us abide by the first law of physics: two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Allow others their privileged space while respecting our own.
Makeda Cheryl Mobley Baker, a 57-year-young mother of two sons, RN, author, poet, pre-doctoral student and social scientist, lives in and loves East Chester. She is currently completing her thesis on "The Phonetics, Linguistics and Semantics in the English Language: The Hidden Meanings Behind the Hidden Psychology." She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.