Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step. Can We Make the Leap to Keep Kids Alive?

Dear Friends in Safety,

Today is the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Landing on the moon was thought to be near impossible, even by lead agents for NASA, the day John F. Kennedy announced that by the end of the decade of the 60's that we would send a man to the moon and return him safely to earth. An lo' and behold, it happened.

The mission to the moon demonstrates the very best of what it means to be human - to dream, to create - to do all that is necessary to accomplish a goal that appears totally out of reach.

What if we committed to such a lofty goal when it comes to our driving behavior each and every day? What if we began with the goal of one day in America (and in the world) when not one person died as a result of a traffic-related incident? What if we stretched that goal to one week, to one month, to one year?

Does this goal seem impossible? If not, then we are ready to begin with the practical, and often controllable, steps that we each can take in order to reach any of these goals. And what are these steps?

  • Be sure that the area around our vehicle is completely free of the presence of children (or anyone for that matter) before we back out of the driveway, a parking spot, or away from the curb. Take a walk around the vehicle just to make sure.
  • Buckle up everyone, including ourselves, every trip, every time, no matter how short the distance. Remember, Seat Belts-FASTENATING!®. The only questions we need to ask and answer to give us a reason to buckle up are:

1. Who do you love?

2. Who loves you?

It is the people we care for, and who care for us, that give us every reason to keep ourselves safe by buckling up. It's not about a ticket. It's about people.

  • Observe the speed limit on each and every roadway, and go slower according to presence of children at play, pedestrians, and cyclists, as well as in deference to weather conditions.
  • It’s Not A Race! Create Space©. Practice great space management. Follow the three second rule when it comes to following distance (Observe a fixed object ahead - light pole, bridge, etc. Note when the vehicle ahead of you passes the object. Then count one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three. If you pass the object before three seconds have passed, increase your spacing.) Also, be aware of spacing with vehicles behind you and around you. Creating space helps to keep you, your passengers, and others on the road safer.
  • Stop! Take 3 To See® at each and every Stop Sign. Come to a complete stop. Look left, look right, look left again. Be sure that the roadway is completely free of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles before proceeding. This is true weather you proceed straight ahead or are turning. It only takes a few seconds and can save a life, as well as a lifetime of heartache.
  • Observe all traffic signals and signs. Remember, amber is not a signal to start a drag race. It is reason to slow to a complete stop. This keeps you and your passengers safe along with others on the road.

When it comes to safe driving, and eliminating roadway deaths and injuries, it's not rocket science, as it was for the Apollo Space Program. It is actually more complicated than that because if involves human decision-making every single trip. Let's all take on a challenge that benefits ourselves and everyone we will ever know (and even all those we never meet). Let's Be Aware! Drive With Care®.

“Don’t Let the 2 Minutes You ‘Save’
Be the Last 2 Minutes of Someone’s Life.”
Adapted from David Townsend (Tia’s father)

In safety,
Tom Everson
Executive Director/Founder - Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 - A "For Action" Organization 501(c)(3)

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