I feel like it defies some level of logic that the first 10 days of public schools starting each fall are when I have the highest concentration of traffic checks. These past 2 weeks have been major increase in stress anytime I step out my front door.
For those unfamiliar with guide dog lingo, a traffic check is when a person driving a car isn’t paying attention, isn’t following the rules of the road or is otherwise being a distracted driver tries to run me over and Tom either blocks me, backs me up, or drags me forward out of harms way, or disobeys my cue telling me it wasn’t safe for him to lead me forward as the car I didn’t hear blows the red light or takes the corner. And then I praise the hell out of my dog while suppressing the urge (sometimes unsuccessfully) to scream uncontrollably at the usually blissfully unaware moron with a driver’s license. Apparently I’ve become known around town for my rather forceful body language at street crossings. You know what, if that’s what it takes for people to respect the pedestrian rules of the road, I’ll take it. I’ve been nearly hit enough times over the years to not trust drivers to be aware or grasp the rules of the road.
That’s a traffic check.
The first 10 days or so after school beings Tom and I will experience more traffic checks than we do the entire spring and summer combined. Last week on a 3 mile walk home from an appointment, we experienced 5 traffic checks that I know of. On one 3 mile route home. FIVE! And that was with my bright hunter orange hat on and Tom’s full body white Kool Coat. On that same route any other time of year, we might experience one every 4th time I take that route, and I don’t wear my bright orange extra visible hat and Tom doesn’t have his large white extra visible coat on.
I live in a fairly pedestrian suburban town. Many people walk and bike to work or the various train stations. Many parents walk with their children to school. Many children walk to school instead of taking the bus. Anytime I’m out walking somewhere I will pass on average at least a handful of people if not more regardless of day of week or time.
One would think that as school begins, with the increase of pedestrians especially children, people with the privilege of a driver’s license would increase in their awareness and driving safety. That my experience would traffic checks would decrease each September. Instead it’s the exact opposite.
That I’ve learned to each September for those few first weeks anytime I go out to put extra visible gear on both Tom and I, to be extra extra cautious, to be super aware. That I often resort to finding other means to get places those couple of weeks due to the increase of distracted drivers and nearly getting killed is a massive thorn in my side.
You have a driver’s license. Don’t take it for granted. Be aware of your surroundings and others in it. You are driving a potentially deadly weapon. Yes Tom is rather awesome. But you know, he and I don’t really need that kind of additional stress in our lives. Nor does anyone else.
Pay attention! Please!