When I was little, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles impressed upon me at every opportunity that I must “be careful.” This included (but was not limited to) looking both ways before I crossed the street. They assured me that in a head-on battle with an automobile, I was guaranteed to lose, with the only question being, “How bad?”
Skip ahead to current times and take a walk through any parking lot. Better yet, drive through one, and you’ll notice no one looks both ways before stepping into the path of an automobile these days. In fact, most people make a deliberate effort to completely ignore traffic. It’s as though they believe if they don’t look at you, you and your two-ton car don’t exist, and most certainly cannot harm them in any way.
I haven’t made a scientific study of this, but it seems to me the top award for this attitude is in a Wal-Mart parking lot. Second place goes to Smith’s grocery store. But right up there with them is any mall parking lot. I wonder how these people transition from driving their cars to get there, and then, when they exit them and become pedestrians, act like cars don’t exist.
I hate to say it, but it all goes back to how they were parented. I can’t figure out when it became the accepted thing for moms and dads to stop teaching their children the safe way to cross a street or parking lot.
I was taught to stop at the curb and wait until 1) traffic was clear; or 2) the oncoming car came to a full stop and motioned you to proceed while they waited for you to clear. I would no more think of violating this rule than I would consider running naked down the middle of I-40.
A lot of people are getting killed these days. Some of them are pedestrians, some are cyclists, some are in automobiles. It just seems to me if people were being taught to be more responsible for their own safety, if they were taught to at least look before they stepped into the street, or drove through an intersection through a red light, many injuries and deaths could be prevented. Am I too old-fashioned? Maybe. But maybe those ideas should be taken out, dusted off, and put in to practice once again. The time has arrived.