And if we step back -- well, I'm in my car, so I'm only stepping back figuratively speaking -- I think that what should most concern us is what is most likely to kill us, or hurt or maim us.
With the recent hurricanes, it's hard not to think about global warming and the destruction it will eventually cause. With North Korea in the news, it's hard not to worry about a nuclear holocaust.
|A scary sight|
When you're on the highway, with speeding cars, tailgating trucks, and motorcycles weaving in and out between cars, you realize that the biggest danger we face today -- all of us -- is the high degree of lawlessness on American roads. People routinely drive 10, 15, even 20 mph over the speed limit. A significant portion of drivers tailgate, pass on the right, weave in and out of traffic, fail to use their turn signals. And god only knows how many are doing all this while they're talking on the phone or fiddling with their iPod.
Haven't you seen the line of six or eight cars in the left-hand lane of the highway, all going 75 mph, and all about 10 feet behind one another? If the slightest thing goes wrong, the result is . . . well, according to the New York Times there were 40,200 traffic deaths in 2016. After going down for years, due largely to seat belts, airbags and other safety features, traffic deaths are now on the rise again.
The latest reports say Hurricane Harvey killed 82 people in four days. What we totally ignore is that some 440 people lost their lives on American roads during that same time period. Hurricane Irma killed 26 Americans in three days, while those same three days claimed 325 lives on our highways.
|Remember these old signs?|
And so the postscript? Actually, drug addiction now takes more American lives than traffic accidents. But I don't worry about drug addiction for myself, because I don't take drugs . . . while I do drive, which is why driving is my number one issue. My kids don't take drugs either (although my niece does and I do worry for her). But my kids also drive. And so whenever I know they're on the road -- my son drove from New York to Baltimore last weekend; my daughter is driving from North Carolina to Brooklyn in a couple of weeks -- there's always that little bit of anxiety lurking in the back of my mind. Are they going to be okay?
Don't you have that same anxiety? Aren't you just a bit unsettled when you know your kids are on the road?
Regardless, the message of this post is: please, slow down and obey the traffic laws, for your own safety as well as the safety of those around you. And let's be more careful of the drugs we use, prescription or otherwise, lest we or our loved ones become victims ourselves.
And by the way, why can't the researchers at our top universities, big hospitals or major drug companies discover an effective nonaddictive painkiller?
Anyway, sometimes we forget . . . we live in a dangerous world. So let's not worry about the small stuff, let's try to keep safe.