Saturday August 30, 2014

Some risks are easy to manage

Being human is a risky business. Every day we face hazardous situations, some more than others, that bear the potential to cause us or others harm. Often, the things we do involve choices; we are not just subject to the vagaries of chance. Those choices, whether we realize it or not, decide what happens.

Take the rash of car accidents we’ve seen recently on the Coquihalla Highway near the Logan Lake exit. Almost daily this week we’re heard about cars going off the road in this location.

One day, six cars went into the banks in the space of two hours. No one was seriously hurt but that was more by chance than design. Once metal and rubber get out of control, especially when speed is involved, it really is a haphazard ride.

It’s easy in these kind of situations to blame the road or the weather. Not often do we blame ourselves for the misfortune, which, when it comes to driving especially, is so often where the blame should lie.

In this case, there is only one answer — people are driving too fast for conditions. Period. There is nothing inherently wrong with the road design there, it is arrow straight and two or three lanes wide. Suggestions of a “micro-climate” being responsible are weak.

The reality is, pure and simply, people drive the road too fast in the winter and wipe out. The telling piece of evidence to support that contention? Once the snow and ice melt, the accidents on that stretch will all but disappear.

Some will no doubt say that the maintenance of the highway is to blame, that there is not enough sand or salt being thrown down. Perhaps, but that doesn’t change the most basic fact in all of this — people make a choice every time they drive the Coquihalla or any other road in B.C. and that choice will decide whether rubber sticks to the road. How fast will I drive?

That choice is our choice, made in the moment, and it will be the one that decides the risk we face and the outcomes we experience.

We need to accept responsibility for ourselves, and strive to make the right choices. The consequences of poor decisions on the road can be grave. Crashes kill many people each year, both in our own cars and others who are just happening along when someone

And of all the choices we make — of all the risks we face — this may be the simplest to fix.

We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.

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