HOLIDAY ROAD FATALITIES: WE CAN DO MUCH BETTER

December 22, 2001 12:00 am

Out for a nice little stroll along a country road at twilight? Danger is lurking, according to the Oregon State Police.

Of the 41 fatal accidents that occurred in November on Oregon highways, nine involved pedestrians. Of those nine, six were walking in the traveled portion of the roadway and wearing dark-colored clothing when oncoming vehicles struck them, the OSP reported.

These types of accidents can be avoided. People should make sure they are walking on the roads shoulder, several feet away from the pathway of motor vehicles. Bright, reflective clothing can help a pedestrian be spotted by a driver.

Many other accidents also are preventable. Of the 41 fatal accidents last month, seven involved a motorist failing to drive on the right side of the roadway. Eight crashes were alcohol-related and four involved excessive speed. Five fatalities might have been prevented had the occupants been wearing safety restraints, the Oregon State Police reported.

These avoidable accidents and injuries have prompted the OSP to conduct a Drive Right campaign this month. They offer the following tips:

Drive on the right side of the designated roadway.

Drive with your headlights on during inclement weather.

Dont drink and drive, and dont allow someone else to do so.

Slow down when there are changing road, traffic and weather conditions.

Dont rush down the road with the steering wheel in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Give full attention to your driving.

Always wear safety restraints.

Use designated crosswalks and walkways. Walk facing oncoming traffic.

Between Dec. 23, 2000, and Jan. 2, 2001, 12 people were killed in Oregon traffic accidents. Of those fatalities, one-third of them involved alcohol or drugs. Oregonians should make it their goal to reduce that number by at least one half in the next 10 days.

While some accidents are exactly that unavoidable occurrences along the road of life, many can be avoided We can all do better as drivers and pedestrians by taking common-sense precautions and being careful.

MORE THAN CHRISTMAS

Some people may think that presenting a gift to someone at Christmas ends the matter of giving. Theyve spent $20 or more to buy a gift that will be warmly appreciated by the receiver.

Done deal? Not really. People should give more than a tangible gift to the people most important to them. They need to give these people their time, their conversation, their respect and support.

Come to think about it, these gifts can be given year-round. No Visa card or checkbook is required.