My daily drive to work includes a small stretch along a road that is crossed by students on their way to the local elementary school. It never ceases to amaze me when they – frequently – fail to look for cars as they cross. Worse, yesterday I watched as a teenager, with tiny tots in tow, crossed the road without looking. Here’s a supposedly responsible person, or at least someone deemed responsible by the parents of the smaller kids, blindly leading these kids across a street. Sure, I know my car is relatively small and quiet, but that’s not the point. You look, because your other senses can deceive you.
My parents, and those of my peers, drilled into our heads from a very young age the importance of being careful when crossing roads. “Look both ways” was the refrain. I can’t help thinking that this failure is at least partly due to the overwhelming emphasis on making everything safe these days. In the UK, it’s disparagingly referred to as the “nanny state.” I’m a good, safe driver, so there’s no way I’m going to hit these kids. But that’s just me. A lesser, or impaired driver, is going to kill these kids one of these days. Perhaps that’s why there are are so many roadside memorials. Could it be that parents are no longer teaching their children the basics of safety?