By Ralph Hipp
I don't want to make this a tally, or seem like I'm keeping a count. But we've lost three outstanding young high schoolers in the past month, two promising young women from Northern Heights High, and another student from Seaman High in traffic accidents. The accidents were caused by a driver who ran off the road (for whatever reason.. I certainly hope it's not teen texting behind the wheel..) and overcorrected their cars to get back on the road.
A semi truck driver, a grown man, overcorrected the tires of his rig yesterday and rolled his truck in North Topeka Monday. The accident shut down Highways 24 and 75 for most of the morning until that accident scene was cleared. The driver was trapped in the cab of his truck, but survived.
My heart goes out to the parents of the children we've lost. And I do want to thank Courtney Harrop's mother for personally inviting us from 13 News to Courtney's memorial service today.. that is a very wonderful gesture, and if weren't here for the evening news I would certainly be glad to be with them in their time of loss.
My point though, is about the cause of these accidents. We have got to get back out in our cars with our teenaged kids and show them how to safely get their cars back on the road if they run off into the shoulder. Remember our driver's classes? Way before phones and text messages, the lesson was the same. Take your foot off the accelerator, do not hit the brakes and do not swing your steering wheel in the opposite direction. As your car slows down slightly, GENTLY guide your car back on the road and avoid the strong urge to whip the wheel back onto the highway. It's not the action of running into the ditch, but the action of swerving into medians or other lanes of traffic, and flipping their vehicles over that is getting our kids killed in accidents caused by overcorrecting.
Highway crashes are still the number one killer of our Kansas kids. I hope you can take this lesson to heart before we lose another honors student, football player, teen volunteer, any teen whose life we value.. in hopes it will last longer. Ralph