The forgotten danger zone -- navigating roads


We are a nation that is consistently looking around corners with craned necks to see where the next potential danger might lurk.

“Stranger danger” is something that is preached to our children, hoping they learn the potential pitfalls of talking to that “nice stranger” before it does indeed become a problem, or stressing over additives and/or fat in food. We worry about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, talk in hushed tones over governmental conspiracies and wonder about the dangers of something called a “Sharknado.”

Much of what we worry about is very real, and if it seems like we worry about more and more each passing year, it’s usually because we know more and more each passing year. Did people truly understand the dangers of smoking a few decades ago? Or hot dogs? Or what alcohol or drugs can do to our bodies over the years? Or what could happen to humanity if a bunch of sharks were sucked up into a tornado and started launching at people as they ...

But I digress.

We do worry about these things because they are worrisome. We have learned that certain things we expose ourselves to can increase the risk of getting cancer, so many of us try to steer clear of those obstacles. We also know that children have indeed been abducted by strangers in the past, and we try to teach them to avoid situations that could present problems.

Women are more savvy these days going to their cars at night, and all of us truly know the dangers of driving under the influence, though still far too many of us ignore those dangers when choosing to get behind the wheel.

However, there are other real dangers out there, and though each person reading this knows it already, there still isn’t nearly enough conversation about it, and that’s probably because it’s just something the vast majority of us deal with on a day-to-day basis, and kind of take for granted.

Roads.

Throughout this summer, we have seen report after report of pedestrians or bicyclists being hit by vehicles, many of them fatalities. Of course, those are real people behind those names on the reports, and each one brings about a mourning family or worried friends. It also brings a cloud of despair and guilt for the person driving the vehicle in those instances, regardless of who was at fault, and that is a cloud that just does not go away easily.

If at all.

On Tuesday morning, I received a report from the Delaware State Police involving a motorcycle crash that happened in Laurel on Monday night. Robert Dorman III of Millsboro was killed when he was stopped while waiting for another motorist to make a left turn and was reportedly struck by a vehicle being driven by a 17-year-old girl.

A 39-year-old man dead. And a 17-year-old girl will carry that with her the rest of her life.

Unfortunately, that was not the first motorcycle fatality in the state this year. By my unofficial count, this takes it to nine motorcycle deaths in the state this year. According to state police, there were 15 motorcycle drivers killed in Delaware last year, and state officials have noticed.

The Delaware Office of Highway Safety, along with state and local law enforcement, is reminding motorists to “Share the Road” and motorcyclists to “Respect Your Ride.” I know, I know. Slogans have never really done much for me, either. However, they are backing up their rhetoric with increased patrols on high-crash roadways through Aug. 18 and have pushed informational materials to the public regarding using turn signals, double-checking their blind spots before changing lanes and generally being more aware of their surroundings.

It all seems like common sense, but common sense just isn’t working, and too many families have suffered very real loss.

There is very little control we truly have over many of the things in our lives. How we navigate our roads is one of those, and it can impact more than just ourselves.