Just Give Me Three Seconds, Please

Aug 13, 2004 (Updated Aug 23, 2004)

The Bottom Line With the recent rash of accidents in my area, I just couldn't sit by any longer.

If I asked you:
“Could you give just three seconds of your time to help save a life?”

You would say “Yes”, wouldn’t you? Of course you would.

You may even offer more time or money. But I’m only asking for the time. The time it takes to turn your head to the left (one one thousand), to the right (two one thousand), and to the left again (three one thousand). Left, right, left. I remember teaching this to my children the very first time we took a walk together, holding hands. We came to a street and we stopped,

“Now look. Do you see any cars coming? Look down that way, now there, now look back that way again. All clear? Good, let’s go.”

So simple that even a small child can learn it, correct?

Then can someone please explain to me, why on my way to work today and almost everyday for that matter, I can count on at least five people that find this small feat to difficult to complete? Are they in such a hurry, their time so important, that they cannot give a mere three seconds to possibly save a life? Maybe even their own? Oh, I know; no one was coming, or so you thought. But I was there, just coming around the bend. You didn’t even see me, did you? I know you didn’t, because you seemed rather surprised when I laid on my horn. You even jumped.

What I’m speaking of is this- stopping at stop signs and respecting red lights. Not just coasting around the corner because you think you have enough time, but actually stopping. Not just automobiles, but bike riders also; adults and children.

Now I know that you all claim that you stop. But we all know that is not true. My daily morning drive to work takes me right by the neighborhood school. Almost every morning there is a car that doesn’t barely even slow down going through the intersection not two blocks from the school. A block later, a four-way stop is too time consuming for a SUV. A middle-schooler shoots out of a driveway on his bike in front of my husband’s car. Luckily my husband anticipated the act and avoided the bicycle, but the odds were not in the child’s favor.

In the afternoon it’s even worse. Living near a school, students are always roaming around either on foot or bikes and the close calls are numerous. The other evening I witnessed, from my front porch, a police car and an elementary child on a bike almost collided. The child on the bike had failed to stop, luckily for him the police officer had.

Please, three seconds is not that long, even if you have twenty stop signs between your home and work, that is only an additional one minute to your drive time. Add in actually stopping at a red light before turning right, another three seconds. Not a great amount of time when it comes to saving a life. And if you are late already, this small amount of time really is not going to make a difference. Yes, your boss probably won’t be happy with you, but isn’t that better than the alternative? You’ve caused an accident that could have been avoided by a mere three seconds, an accident that probably includes costly damages to personal property, bodily injuries and heaven forgive us; death. Which would you rather be- a couple minutes late, or maybe not arrive at all?

On a foot note: it's to bad Clip Smith didn't read my article, he just might be alive today.

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