McCook drivers in the spotlight, in more ways than one

Thursday, August 22, 2019

A survey that showed Omaha drivers as the worst in the country — and McCook drivers as among the fifth best in the state, drew some interesting local comments on a Facebook post:

-- As soon as mccookites figure out how to use a 4-way stop ...

-- In McCook the right lane is for passing ...

-- ‘Pedestrian beware’

-- Or the guy on H Street pulling a fancy trailer that didn’t realize 2014 Dodge pickups come equipped with turn signals ...

-- Biggest problem is people not taking the right-of-way when they have it ...

Others, including those who live elsewhere, don’t think the survey is correct.

-- I find Kansas City and parts of Colorado to be much worse than Omaha.

-- Atlanta (Ga.) drivers make Omaha drivers look like angels behind the wheel, but they’re only 26th.

-- I learned how to drive in D.C., so circles don’t freak me out, but my left turn signal is the centerpiece of my retirement plan ...

-- It’s all the road construction. You can’t drive more than 1/4 mile before you find cones.

Actually, we think McCook drivers are to be commended for how they’ve handled the current repair work on our “main drag,” and we haven’t noticed much of an uptick in accidents as a result of traffic being restricted to one lane.

We did notice a number of the orange plastic barrels knocked over or smashed the other day, and hope it wasn’t done deliberately.

The Quotewizard.com survey ranked the 50 largest cities by the highest rate of incidents (accidents, speeding tickets, DUI’s and moving citations).

View the complete survey here.

While all those factors contribute to McCook drivers’ score, the McCook Police Department is taking part in a special effort now through September, to deal with one of the most dangerous factors: drunk driving.

Organizers of the national “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign note that 10,874 people died in a drunk-driving crash in 2017, an average of one every 48 minutes.

That includes more than 1,000 juveniles, with alcohol involved in 29 percent of all fatal accidents.

Sadly, Nebraska consistently ranks as having one of the higher rates of drunk driving rates in all 50 states, with drinking drivers more than 12 times as likely to die and five times more likely to be severely injured than their non-drinking counterparts.

Always aware of the problem, McCook police officers will focus on efforts to find and arrest drunk drivers for the next few weeks in addition to their regular duties.

While we noted Wednesday the amount of musical entertainment with which McCook is blessed with, it’s important that drivers who attend those events, which often include alcohol, make arrangements to get home safely.

Plan ahead and designate a non-drinking driver for planned parties. Take keys from a friend when necessary, and don’t let him or her drive drink.

When you’re hosting a party, remind guests to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, and always offer at least one alcohol-free beverage.

Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous, of course, with the additional complication that users of illegal drugs are less likely to admit they have done so.

Regardless of the substance, legal or illegal, driving under the influence is not worth the risk.

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