Every time I drive off post and through the Rancier gate, I notice the traffic fatality counter. I notice the number. And when I see the counter restart, my heart breaks.
When I started jotting down my thoughts from this week’s column — almost two weeks ago — the traffic fatality counter as you go in and out of the gate, was on the number eight. We lost one of our own to a motorcycle crash, eight days ago.
This past Friday, I was driving out of the gate, and the counter had restarted and was on the number one.
And my heart was heavy once again.
As I started thinking about driving, speed, and traffic, I thought more about the families of those we lost in these two crashes in the past two weeks.
We have all witnessed cars weaving in and out traffic on 190, or folks speeding down Fort Hood Street. As these and many more things may frustrate us as we are behind the wheel, I want to implore everyone to be a better, more thoughtful driver.
Yes — other drivers may upset but it is more important to arrive alive.
I want to take the time to remind everyone to be safe on the roads, and add some other summer safety tips to ensure you do everything you can to keep your family and those around you safe here in Central Texas.
You might say to yourself, “I know all these traffic safety laws”and you might think to yourself that you already abide by them but every time the counter goes back to zero, I think to myself, a reminder might not be such a bad idea.
This should go without saying — NEVER EVER drive while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. This includes prescribed medications that may cause sleepiness or drowsiness.
Obey speed limits. We all want to get to our destination safely.
Drive safely. Don’t be erratic. Be the bigger person on the road. Take a deep breath. Let that car merge. If another car in front of you cuts you off, just let it be.
Always buckle up and pay attention. Put your phone away. The call or text can wait until you get to your destination.
School is out. Kids are playing. It is imperative that drivers stay alert and aware of their surroundings, and maintain a watchful eye for kids in or near the street.
Texas roads see a lot of trucks. Make sure you give them enough space. And watch your blind spot.
Please be safe and courteous on the road.
As I wrap up the traffic safety reminders, I wanted to take a minute to touch on a few other summer safety suggestions. Summer means we are out and about. From biking to boating in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, let’s do everything we can to stay safe.
If you are heading out for a long bike ride or just nipping over to the neighbors? Always wear a helmet. If you are on a bike ride, make sure you put your helmet on. Every bike ride. Every single time.
There are so many beautiful places to enjoy the summer while spending time on the water here in our beautiful area. So, if you are headed out for a day on the water, wear a life jacket. Don’t forget about the kiddos either. You may be a strong swimmer. Your kids may be on the swim team. Take the time to do everything you can to keep yourself safe on the water.
Lastly, the Texas heat is no joke. Make sure you stay hydrated.
Water! Water! Water!
Enjoy the summer and do everything you can to keep yourself, your families, and those around you safe.
Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald Correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.