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Soucheray: Keep roads safe this season

School is now out for summer vacation and we seem to have detours in several parts of our city. There will be kids walking, biking, skateboarding, playing on or near already crowded roadways that are now under construction and this could have a poor outcome if drivers are distracted or in a hurry.

We have to get to work on time, but do we have to answer that last email so that we're rushing? We have to drop the kids at daycare or a summer program, but do we allow the morning to become harried and hurried so that we're running late? If we do either of these, or something else, we may not take the time to see a young person crossing the roadway in front of us. We may not slow down enough to make room for the kids who are skateboarding or biking in neighborhoods we are using as a thoroughfare.

If each one of us determined that this will be a summer in which every person is safe on our city's roadways: the main arteries, the side streets, parking lots and neighborhoods, everyone will be happier. If this is our commitment, we will have to put a few things in place.

First, we must commit to paying attention when we're behind the wheel of our vehicle. We can't be texting, dialing, changing the song on our i-pod, putting on make-up or under the influence of any substance. When we're driving, the driving takes total precedence over all other activities, no matter how important they may seem.

Secondly, we must know the speed limits all around town and stay within them. That means that when we're driving through neighborhoods, whether our own or someone else's, we should be at a speed of 25 miles per hour or less. If we're on a main thoroughfare, it may increase to 35, 45 or 50. But nowhere in our city does any speed limit sign indicate that 60 is acceptable.

Thirdly, we must be aware of stop light patterns and not speed through a red light. We must be alert for yellow lights, prepare to stop and not attempt to run through them.

And finally, when I was taking driver's education about 40 years ago, the main point made in our class was to be a defensive driver. We were taught to watch for the other driver who changes lanes with no warning, to watch for the ball that rolls into the street, to expect the unexpected and to be ready for it. Let's all commit to a safe summer for every citizen of Woodbury. Let's have fun as we drive defensively, alertly and carefully.

Soucheray is a Woodbury resident and a licensed family therapist