Letters to the Editor

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SAFETY: Darkness is dangerous

Letter by Karen M. Jeffery, Tacoma on Nov. 3, 2010 at 2:45 pm with 14 Comments »
November 3, 2010 2:45 pm

This morning, driving down the East L Street hill toward Puyallup Avenue and Interstate 5 on-ramps, I nearly had a tragedy.

Two young boys were horsing around on the slim shoulder of the road. My headlights illuminated the road ahead of me but not off to my side. I only saw a little motion that caught my eye. Had these boys not been flailing around, I’d never have seen them. Had I been maybe six inches to my right, I may have struck them.

They were dressed in black or navy hooded jackets and dark pants. What parents would let two young boys about 8 or 9 years old walk on roads without sidewalks, wearing clothing that makes them virtually invisible? Get some reflecting striping, or a light hat. Hoods that cover most of their faces give off no reflection; a bare face would be more visible.

Teachers and parents, give these kids some warning. They may be able to see our headlights, but we can’t see them until they are in our beams, and then it may be too late.

Leave a comment Comments → 14
  1. DevilDog2019 says:


  2. readingthelatest says:


  3. cclngthr says:

    Why should we have to babysit those who don’t use their head?

  4. When I go out shopping to Safeway or F. Meyer in the summertime
    I wear a lime green vest in the daytime and have my lights blazing
    at night time. I’ve got reflective sticky tape on my bike and carry a pair
    of tube whistles to warn traffic. I think the next cautious, protective move will be to bury 25% of America’s cars. Want to join me?

  5. I guess if your lights only show the road ahead you probably missed the sign that said children playing?

    Actually your lights should be showing the right side of the road fairly good. That’s the way they should be set up for American roads.

  6. fatuous says:

    “I think the next cautious, protective move will be to bury 25% of America’s cars. Want to join me?”

    Nope. But I would join burying 99% of America’s bicycles since the riders seem to think traffic laws don’t apply to them.

  7. You make an important point. Some pedestrians simply do not realize that they are virtually invisible unless they make it their business to do wear something that reflects light.

    My headlights recently caught a young man sauntering across the road in front of me, and you could tell by his posture and decision not to step it up that he thought I was aware of his presence. I was, but only at the last minute.

  8. TruthBeTold says:

    It is a normal occurence, thank goodness tragedy was avoided. The problem is that these chidren are merely mimicking the adults who are attempting to raise them. Just yesterday two men decided to cross a busy road against their traffic signal causing me to stop dead in the middle of an intersection. They then glared at me as if I was to blame. Also, adults who decide to RUN across the road in the dark, especially on Sprague where a man was struck and killed doing the same thing last November, need to be ticketed. Okay, so people think Darwinism is at work. Fine, remove these idiots from the gene pool, but it still sucks for the driver that has to deal with the fact that they hurt someone. Not sure what to do.

  9. lgcnelson84 says:

    During the school week, especially now with the sun not coming up until 7-7:30, drivers must be aware of children on/near the street waiting for busses… it’s just common sense.

    Should a parent be out there with them? Sure, are all parents able to do so? No. and if these kids were out in front of a house, they were probably within yelling distance of their parents, which some think is perfectly fine.

    How about the driver be more cognizant of her surroundings? Kids waiting for the school bus aren’t going to wear reflective gear just so drivers with bad headlights might be able to see them from farther down the road.

  10. cclngthr says:

    Part of the problem is cars headlights are not aimed correctly. I find a lot of cars that the headlights are aimed too close to the ground, or not aimed so they reflect the light not only ahead of the car, but to the sides.

    The right headlight should be focused straight ahead, and to the right a degree, the left headlight straight ahead.

  11. Hey, here’s an idea, why don’t we take some of the time allotted for sex education and obesity and teach the kids how to be safe pedestrians!

  12. ronniew says:

    We’ve given our kids so many protective devices they no longer think it’s necessary to watch out for themselves. Helmets and seatbelts are great, but they do give people the idea that it’s okay to be in an accident because they won’t get hurt.

    My neighbor yells at all the cars going by at the speed limit when her kids are playing in the road. When I was a kid we played ball in the street, but we actually stopped and walked all the way off the side when a car was coming. Now the kids move over just enough to let the cars swerve around them in the other lane and the parents yell at the drivers.

  13. The Department of Labor and Industries, require protective/reflective vests to be warn by employees on construction sights and in industrial plants, so that qualified operators will be able to see them in the light of day. Then we send our children out in the darkness on winter mornings, wearing dark clothing, to walk in the street to get to their bus, meanwhile, barely awake, distracted, drivers barge their way to work, using these same roads.

    A word to the wise, should be sufficient.

  14. cclngthr says:

    When they act like cows grazing on the street, they deserve to get ran over.


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