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OPINION: Slow down, let’s all get home alive

I’ve had something on my mind for the last few weeks that has not been going away.
(File photo)

I’ve had something on my mind for the last few weeks that has not been going away.

As the editor, reporter, and chief bottle washer for multiple regional publications, I get releases from the RCMP regarding a wide variety of incidents that happen in the communities of central Alberta.

Everything from murders to severe vehicle accidents can pop up in my email; or, if I hear of something on social media, I can get more information from RCMP media relations.

What’s been bothering me lately is the number of motor vehicle collisions happening at highway intersections where they shouldn’t be.

An intersection near Castor has had a couple of significant collisions this summer alone, as have intersections both west and north of Stettler.

In each of these intersections, sightlines are long, there are rumble strips in place, and there is an oversized stop sign for the cross traffic.

So, why are these incidents happening?

Speaking from personal experience, there is one intersection on Highway 11 near the old gas plant where I have just about been taken out a couple of times for the simple reason that the person at the stop sign thought they could get across in front of me; they were able to because I stepped on the brake and had to slow myself from highway speed down to around 80km/h.

Had I carried on at highway speed, assuming the right of way I legally held, I would have impacted the offending vehicle which would have ruined both of our days.

And this exact scenario has happened more than once. As a result, when I am on that section of the road I am extra alert.

I had a driving instructor tell me one time, ‘When you are behind the wheel, assume everyone else will do the absolute dumbest thing possible in front of you.’

Unfortunately, these words seem to be prophetic as the situation does not seem to be getting any better.

People need to slow down. An extra 30 seconds isn’t going to slow you down significantly in the grand scheme of things and waiting until the vehicle that is coming passes you could make sure everyone makes it home safely.

I spent a significant amount of time on the front lines of emergency services, and I responded to countless motor vehicle collisions during my decade-plus career in EMS.

After seeing first-hand the pain and trauma that can happen in a collision, it is not something that I would wish on anyone.

Simply put, the bigger the vehicle you tangle with, the less likely you are to survive the encounter. It’s simple physics.

So, I ask, please slow down. Take some extra time, and make sure everyone on the road gets home alive.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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