Tragic rhythm of road deaths keeps going on

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And the beat goes on ...

It's not a pleasant rhythm, however.

By quitting time Monday afternoon, nine people had been killed in Nebraska in weather-related accidents since Dec. 22.

The latest included a 75-year-old man killed after a pickup truck driven by a 17-year-old boy went out of control and slid into the wrong lane south of Chadron; and a 19-year-old man struck and killed in a high school parking lot by a loader removing snow.

Others were more typical; a semi sliding across the median and killing the driver of a car it struck head-on; the driver of a pickup truck killed after his vehicle slid across the Interstate 80 median, killing the passenger in an SUV it struck head-on when it threw the SUV into the path of a semi trailer truck.

And the weekend before that was not much better, with four people killed in separate crashes.

Thousands of people were involved in nonfatal crashes, and thousands more stranded in inconvenient spots far from their intended destinations.

It's just another reminder of how important it is to heed the warning of officials when they say we should stay off the roads, allow extra time and dial 511 in Nebraska or log onto www.511nebraska.org for the latest road conditions.

It also behooves employers to be as flexible as possible with employees planning holiday travel to visit loved ones.

It's also up to drivers to keep their vehicles -- and themselves -- in as good a condition as possible.

We can't all drive new cars, but newer cars are usually safer, thanks to traction control and better safety equipment like side airbags. Let's hope automakers, with a minimum amount of government prodding, continue to make safety improvements that will make fatal accidents much more rare.

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