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ROUNDING THIRD: Don’t be a distracted pedestrian

John David Fay
Sentinel columnist
Posted 3/5/23

Back in college (about 60 years ago), I was taking a course in how to be an instructor of driver’s education. It seemed like a good extra to add to my resume.

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ROUNDING THIRD: Don’t be a distracted pedestrian


Back in college (about 60 years ago), I was taking a course in how to be an instructor of driver’s education. It seemed like a good extra to add to my resume.

Our instructor had a favorite saying — “Always expect the other driver to do the wrong thing.”

I’ve never forgotten that, and I drive accordingly. You have to be a defensive driver to survive the loonies on the road today—and even back then.

Expect the worst, and you’ll be prepared for it. That sentiment carries over into a lot of different areas today. That doesn’t make us pessimists, it makes us survivors.

As the boy scout’s motto says, “Be Prepared!” I am concerned that pedestrians aren’t exactly taking that same viewpoint.

They walk right out into traffic in a lot of areas and expect the driver to look out for them. Hmmm!

You see it at big stores and malls all the time.

Yes, they may be entitled to the right of way in many cases, like those lanes on Dominick Street. But, if the driver isn’t prepared to stop or isn’t vigilant, they may be dead right.

They are not safeways as advertised. A 4000 pound car or truck isn’t safe to challenge any place. Protect yourself first.

There is a certain sense of false security being assumed that is alarming to me. I suspect that many of you reading this are aware and careful because you’re still with us.

However, how many times lately have you seen a pedestrian with his/her nose stuck in a phone walk right across the driveway in front of a store assuming that the driver will watch out for them?

I think we are a lot better off assuming responsibility for our own safety than relying on laws and/or good drivers.

Legislated safety works almost as badly as legislated morality. You take care to be safe and expect the driver or others to do the wrong thing — as my dear, departed instructor intoned 60 years ago. That’s personal responsibility! Something in short supply lately! Very short supply!

Pay Attention

If you walk in front of a truck, and in the cab is a schmuck,

Would you really say it’s bad luck, if your body is suddenly thrown?

If you stroll in front of a car, and the car is not very far,

When you’re hit with a sudden jar, is it something you should bemoan?

We are always blaming someone, when we are really the dumb one,

Try to beat a car or out run one, and “the late” may be how you’re known.

Don’t try to fly ’cross the street with your eyes on your phone or feet,

‘Cause the speed of car’s hard to beat and the metal is harder than bone.

You could have the right of way, but the driver’s attention might stray,

You’ll be left in some disarray, and your body will be like stone..

They taught us as kids to be cautious; when crossing the road—don’t be raucous,

But adults are a lot more lawless, and to careless they’re much more prone.

So, try to end up not lying on the street while people are crying,

While you and your cell phone are dying and your family’s left on their own.

Now, the driver remembers forever, cause he’s tied to the blame with a tether,

But part of the fault was his never, ‘cause you had your nose in a phone.

So, please give us all a break, when your life can be at stake,

Look both ways, for goodness sake, and proceed only when safety’s known.



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