Two simple words sum up State Patrol Capt. Joe Schueller's advice for safe driving: Slow down.
Those two words should be affixed to the dashboard of every motorized vehicle in the Brainerd area, particularly in light of the tragic stretch of traffic fatalities the area has seen this month.
The Brainerd area has seen six traffic fatalities in 2001 and we're only in the first month of the year. Half of those fatalities have been on Highway 210. Each fatality has devastated the lives of that person's family and their friends.
The shocking road statistics follow a trend that was set at the tail-end of last year when 19 fatal accidents were reported in the Brainerd area between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31.
No driving tip can assure motorists of complete safety, but reducing a vehicle's speed improves drivers' control of their vehicle and gives them more reaction time when the unexpected occurs.
When motorists see posted speed limits they should consider that those are the speeds for optimal conditions. The law, as well as common sense, dictates that when the roads are icy or the visibility is impaired by blowing snow or fog, motorists should drive as slowly as they need to, to ensure their safety.
Driving in slow motion is the way Schueller described it in his comments on Tuesday about the recent rash of traffic fatalities.
"Stop a little slower, drive a little slower, go around curves a little slower," he said. He's learned that a certain number of drivers are going to lose control of their vehicles on icy roads. The lucky ones just end up in the ditch.
A little extra thought and caution can save many lives between now and the end of 2001.
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