A Tragic Reminder: The Importance of Road Safety as Darkness Descends
In 2014, we produced a short film titled “In Just a Few Seconds,” a poignant story that unfolded in a matter of moments. The narrative revolved around Kate, a 17-year-old girl engrossed in her GPS, and Harold, an innocent bystander securing his pickup truck’s load. The collision that ensued forever changed the lives of two families, leaving them shattered by a senseless tragedy.
The Arrival of October in the Northeast:
As October descends upon us here in Massachusetts, we witness the earlier arrival of darkness, particularly during our cloudy, rain-soaked New England nights. Undeterred, confident pedestrians continue their usual journeys home from work, crossing streets clad in black, engrossed in conversation or texting, heading to restaurants, bars, or cycling along our expanding “bike-friendly lanes.” They assume that the same rules of caution apply, as they did when the summer light stretched until 8:30 pm.
A Seasonal Risk:
According to mass.gov, statistics reveal that, over the past five years, 55% of traffic fatalities occurred between October and March. Factors such as reduced visibility due to limited daylight and compromised sidewalk access caused by snow and ice contribute to this unfortunate reality.
Return to the Rush:
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we find ourselves back in the whirlwind of hurried routines. We rush to pick up our children, meet friends, or simply reach the solace of our homes after a long day. In the midst of congested traffic, an increasing number of drivers succumb to the temptation of multitasking—texting, changing radio stations, making calls to inform loved ones of our imminent arrival. Yet, as darkness cloaks our surroundings, our reaction times suffer, amplifying the risks we face.
The Power of a Video:
“In Just a Few Seconds” was created in collaboration with EndDistractedDriving.com and the National Safety Council. Despite its modest budget, the video has made a significant impact, featuring regularly in driver training courses, re-training sessions, and high school assemblies nationwide. While, in the editor’s opinion, the video may seem lengthy for social media platforms, it was intentionally crafted to cater to seated audiences in need of an impactful lesson.
A Lesson to Be Learned:
Whether you choose to watch the video or not, the underlying message remains crucial. When behind the wheel, slow down. Resist the urge to engage with your phone. Keep your focus solely on driving. For those walking, jogging, or biking, please bear in mind that drivers no longer perceive you as clearly as they did during the brighter months of August and September. Exercise caution and vigilance. Understand that there are young, inexperienced drivers on the roads. Embrace defensive habits, prioritize safety, and look out for one another.
Let this tragic reminder resonate within you. As darkness envelops our surroundings, let us unite in our commitment to road safety. Together, we can prevent future tragedies, protect lives, and ensure the well-being of our communities. Slow down, stay focused, and cherish the safety of every individual on our roads.