Don’t make the roads more dangerous

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The first half of 2017 proved to be an especially deadly time for drivers and their passengers in Suffolk. A steep rise in traffic fatalities in Suffolk during that period has flummoxed the city’s police department, which is increasing its patrol presence on at least one dangerous stretch of highway in Suffolk.

Ten people died on the city’s roads during the period from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year. That compares to an average of 5.6 highway deaths during the same period for the previous five years.

Helping to drive the numbers up this year has been an unusual number of accidents with multiple fatalities. A crash involving four vehicles on the Godwin Bridge on a Sunday afternoon late in June sent three people to the hospital with serious or critical injuries and left two dead. Another double-fatality took place on May 1 on Old Myrtle Road.

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Other deadly accidents during the first half of the year have taken place on the downtown exit from U.S. Route 58 westbound; on Interstate 664; on Bridge Road near Eclipse; on Godwin Boulevard; on Holland Road; and on Indian Trail.

Each one of those wrecks took a loved one from one or more families. And in each of those cases, everything was perfectly normal just a few seconds before the crash. In each of those cases, everything changed in a heartbreaking fashion in a moment.

Suffolk spokeswoman Diana Klink said last week that the police department is increasing its efforts to crack down on aggressive driving, especially along Route 58, between the Godwin Boulevard exit and the Chesapeake city line.

Accidents caused by aggressive driving — which can include cutting in and out of lanes, tailgating and speeding — are, along with texting and driving and driving while intoxicated, among the most avoidable mishaps on the road.

To paraphrase the famous Nike slogan: Just don’t do it.

Suffolk’s busy and often-narrow roads are already dangerous enough. We don’t need distracted, drunken or aggressive drivers to make them more so.

Slow down. Pay attention. Drive sober. Your family needs you.