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Be careful on the road, take your time, never drive impaired and get to where you are going safely

One of the more troubling parts of community journalism is reporting on vehicle accidents. Writing the details of a mistake on the road that causes serious injury or worse yet, fatalities, leaves a sick feeling in the stomach and breaks the heart. Sadly, it happens far too often, and there are many times when it involves driving too fast on slick roads, not paying attention to surroundings or driving while intoxicated.

With the arrival of more winter weather and slick roads and an effort by local law enforcement to reduce distracted driving taking place for the remainder of the month, it seems prudent at this time to encourage people to take the steps necessary to get from point A to point B.

These are all things that drivers have heard before — and perhaps that is why it is so difficult to see people take risks and make mistakes that hurt themselves and others. But that doesn't mean they don't bear repeating.

Starting with winter weather driving, do what it takes to slow down on the road. Plan ahead, leave early and drive slower. Sure, we all have places to go, deadlines to meet, events to arrive on time to attend. But is it really worth the risk of putting yourself or somebody else in the hospital or worse?

Also, put your phone down. No text or phone call is so worth your time that you can't pull over or wait until arriving at your destination. If you must take phone calls, consider a hands-free device so that you can keep your eyes and your vehicle on the road. Between 2013 and 2017, there were 12,006 fatal and injury crashes on Oregon highways involving a distracted driver. It's not worth it to check that message or take that call if it means putting yourself at risk of injury or death.

And of course, nobody should get behind the wheel if they are impaired by consumption of alcohol or any other substance. Many of the accidents resulting in serious injury or death are caused by intoxicated driving. The issue is particularly concerning in Crook County given that drunk driving fatalities has been highlighted as one of the main public health concerns in recent county health rankings and other health assessment data.

All of these suggestions may seem obvious, but when accidents resulting from these risks or mistakes continue, they clearly need to be repeated. Be careful on the road, take your time, never drive impaired and get to where you are going safely.


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