COLUMN: Pontificating particularly personal pet peeves

Ponoka News reporter speaks to road safety and awareness and motorists.

Last week seemed to resonate with a theme.

From the news and information programming on television to the chatter on radio stations to press releases and social media posts, every turn I made had people spouting off about something in particular that annoyed them.

That got me to thinking about what really bugs me and so, if you can handle it, feel free to continue reading. If you don’t want to hear some ramblings of a newspaper reporter whittling on about this or that not to worry, I won’t be devastated if you turn the page.

First off, a few recent events have stirred up my emotions concerning drivers, not only in this province but in many jurisdictions, and the apparent lack of common sense or adequate ability to perform the task for the safety of everyone else.

As a first responder, I know all too well how dangerous it is to be on the roads but especially highways attempting to work or provide assistance.

From those that slow down, or even stop (??), so they can get a better ‘look’ at what’s going on to the drivers that believe it will take too long to do what they are supposed to do to the ones that nearly cause another accident because of inattention, it can be an extremely scary situation.

The most recent examples of that danger was a fire truck protecting a scene on a highway in east central Alberta was hit by a semi-trailer unit (no one hurt fortunately) and the tragic death of yet another tow truck driver earlier this month, this time in Saskatchewan, after he was hit by a passing vehicle.

Yet, despite the amount of education and awareness campaigns or threat of demerits and fines, the number of injuries and deaths continue to climb. What is it going to take to get vehicles to slow to 60 km/h when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks when their lights are flashing or giving one clear lane of space?

Everyone wants that help when they need it, but unfortunately, many don’t seem to care if they aren’t the ones involved.

The second item on my list is somewhat related, as it pertains to pedestrians and how they need to start paying attention to the surroundings.

So often these days, in cities and small towns, people simply decide they are going to cross the street whenever and wherever they want. While this practice has led to injuries and deaths, the situation is being made worse with both pedestrians and many drivers being distracted. Someone paying more attention to their phone than the traffic light or trying to cross in the middle of the block between cars has a greater likelihood of being rundown by a driver that is also texting or looking at their GPS.

Even for those of us that drive with our eyes on the road, the danger of mowing over a pedestrian is ramped up due to people feeling its a ‘right’ to cross the street at their pleasure.

What ever happened to the principle of stop, look both ways, listen and cross? Once again, common sense seems to have been lost and this behaviour isn’t limited to a particular age group either, just to be clear.

One last pet peeve that has been especially noteworthy of late is the rising level of people bashing others with growing personal attacks, all because they dare disagree with an opinion or view that has been expressed.

It used to be the individuals would hold a civilized, for the most part, discussion and conclude it by agreeing to disagree or finding some common ground from which to build upon.

Unfortunately nowadays, it is no longer a discussion, but devolves into a screaming insult match with no attempt to sway one side with talk about facts. Making it worse is the advent of social media and many people hiding behind anonymous profiles.

It seems listening and accepting that people will differ on various topics is another common sense that has drifted so far that one feels it may never be found again.

Makes a former editor like me yearn for the days of when we got letters sent to newspapers instead of having to read and moderate social media comments.

But that is…just an observation.