Swerves from its lane.
Leaves the road.
Seat belts were not worn.
Significant injuries or fatalities occur.
It’s a familiar story here in Douglas County.
I’ve been here a year and a half. I’ve already lost count of the number of times I’ve written that basic story for the Herald.
I wrote it again last week.
According to the government data, in 2018 87% of Missouri residents wore their seat belts.
I can’t find statistics for Douglas County specifically.
Maybe I don’t want to know.
We came here after full-time RVing for 8 years. I’ve driven roads in 42 different states. I’ve suffered through traffic in LA, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
Missouri traffic may not be as bad as in those cities.
But the local roads are no joke.
Back-country highways like 14 and 76 are twisty, hilly, narrow, and have little-to-nothing for shoulders. Trees or rock ledges are always close by. Visibility is limited by hills. Slow-moving farm equipment is common.
The margin for error is narrow.
Just maintaining the speed limit demands focus.
Check your phone, glance over a field, or look down to change the radio station and the road moved while you keep going straight.
Accidents happen, yes.
But the simple act of putting on your seatbelt reduces your odds of death or serious injury in a car accident by half.
50% in your favor.
Just for buckling up.
So buckle up. Put the phone down. Eyes on the road.
And then maybe I won’t have to write that story again.