Please drive carefully!

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Please drive carefully!

Last week Ray and I heard about a particularly horrific traffic fatality in an adjoining county. According to news reports, law enforcement authorities learned of an extremely reckless driver. They chased him for several miles on the Interstate from one county and into another. Along the way, he got off at exits and then got back on the Interstate, speeding on and on. His speed rose to 120 miles per hour.

Finally, this reckless 25-year-old driver turned onto one of the roads that Ray and I and our local family and friends travel most frequently. There he hit another vehicle and instantly killed a young mother and her two children. We do not know this family, but we grieve over this tragic loss.

I have no reason to believe that this young mother was distracted in any way. However, I immediately thought about how easily she could have been distracted. After all, she had two young children in the car. That’s enough reason to be distracted, right? According to news reports, she was on the way to drop them off at Head Start.

I thought about how important it is always to be completely alert to the one task at hand when we are driving—and that is driving. I also thought of our children—and of you.

A few years ago, Ray and I were on our way home from a business trip. We had stopped for fast food and had just finished eating when a deer suddenly jumped just in front of us on the Interstate. We hit the deer and our airbags inflated. Ray, who was driving at the time, did exactly what he should have done. He pulled off the road, stopped the car, and we were completely safe. We got checked out at an emergency room, checked into a hotel, and breathed many prayers and sighs of relief.

One of the things I was most grateful for was that we had finished the fast food we had eaten in the car. “What if we had still been eating?” I wondered. How would that distraction have impacted Ray’s ability to get us off the road safely?

I have one funny story related to this incident. I was on the passenger side in the front seat with my laptop in my lap. I was pecking away on Uncle Sam and You. Soon after the airbags inflated, I noticed my computer at my feet. “I wonder if it hurt my computer,” I said to Ray.

Uh, well, yes it did. Actually, only half of my computer was at my feet. The airbags had sent the other half flying between us into the back of the car where it was in a gazillion pieces. We were thankful for online backup and hotspot Internet service on my phone.  I lost only a few minutes of work.

I looked to see if I had any photos from that trip. I found this leaves and shadow picture I took on our way home. Praise God we were alive to take any pictures at all.

Leaves and shadows, somewhere between Texarkana and Middle Tennessee, November 2012.

Now, back to my serious and loving message to you. Drive safely! Don’t drive distracted. If you get fast food and don’t want to eat inside, park somewhere and eat it. If your child needs something—anything—while you are driving, pull over to a safe place. It is better to be late than to take a risk. Please. You are too precious to take these kinds of risks.

I don’t know that there was any way this young mother could have gotten herself and her children out of the way, but wouldn’t it have been terrible if a French fry had made the difference? Sometimes the situation just before us is one that needs our completely undivided attention.

Ray and I are alive today by God’s grace. I know that only He makes me alive. I also know that He expects me to take care of the gifts He gave me, especially the people in my life.

The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord cause His face to shine on you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His face to you,
And give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26



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