Watch the road — and yourself

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen several tragic stories that remind us of just how essential traffic safety is.

First, a Shelby County woman was charged with murder, driving under the influence and reckless driving after colliding with a Chilton County man who was driving a motorcycle on U.S. 31 in Calera on Sept. 5.

Then, on Sept. 8, a 17-year-old Briarwood Christian School student was killed in a one-car wreck on Shelby County 39 in Chelsea.

On Sept. 9, an elderly couple died in an accident on U.S. 280 involving their car and a semi-truck.

Finally, a Birmingham teen died and three passengers were injured in a one-car wreck on Sept. 13.

In the space of a few days, several lives were lost — and so many more negatively impacted — because of vehicular accidents.

We can’t stress enough the importance of traffic safety. Shelby County is a commuter county, and our citizens spend much of their days on the road. Public transit is little-used, and our roads are often flooded with traffic, making them even more dangerous.

Also, there are several road construction projects going on around the county right now, most noticeably on U.S. 280. It’s easy for typical traffic to be disrupted by those projects, again heightening the likelihood of accidents.

While you’re out driving, be sure to pay complete attention to the road. Put your smartphone away, keep your seat belt on and avoid doing anything, such as eating or putting on makeup, that could distract you from what’s going on around you. If you’ve had any alcoholic beverages, ask someone else to drive you home.

Parents of teenage drivers, reiterate the above guidelines to your children. Make sure they know that texting while driving is unacceptable and can be the cause of a deadly accident.

In order to make our roads safer, we all have to commit to traffic safety. With our roads only becoming more congested, it’s the only way to avoid the type of accidents that stole five lives in nine days.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.