EDITORIAL: Slow down so everybody gets where they need to go safely

Slow down. You never know whose life you might be saving by doing so.

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Heartbreaking.

It is the only appropriate way to describe the events which took the life of two young teenagers from Sherwood Park, and put two others in hospital.

Two teenagers died and a third was transported to the hospital after a two-vehicle collision on Highway 21 south of Fort Saskatchewan on Thursday.

“Evidence indicates that a pickup truck was travelling northbound in the southbound lane when it collided with an SUV travelling southbound,” the RCMP said in a release on the incident.

The driver of the SUV, a 16-year-old male, and a 17-year-old female passenger died as a result. The third occupant of the vehicle, a 15-year-old girl from Sherwood Park, was rushed to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

The 45-year-old driver of the pickup truck was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.

The RCMP is requesting dash cam footage to help them with the investigation and officers indicated updates could take weeks to surface as they continue to gather evidence. We are in no way shape or form here to cast guilt upon the driver of the pickup truck, to be clear.

There are any number of things which could have caused his vehicle to be in the wrong lane, we are not here to speculate on the actual reason.

Still it is impossible for this event to not serve as a stark reminder that it is usually better to take the more cautious approach when behind the wheel. Highway 21 is a two-lane split highway where the occurrence of eager drivers passing in the oncoming lane so they may continue travelling 20-30 kilometres over the speed limit is commonplace. In fact, this is commonplace across the province.

A quick drive on Highway Two or a check of any of the social media wires quickly proves many across the province have places to go and no time to wait for drivers going the speed limit. Highway Two is not the best comparison to the above scenario as it is a four-lane highway.

At the very least there is the etiquette of the passing lane to consider on that path. Drivers should be in the middle lane unless passing traffic, giving those moving faster the option to pass. Still, accidents resulting in injury or death happen far too often and speed is almost always involved.

On a two-lane highway such as Highway 21 or any of the many throughout the Tri-Region there is nowhere near as much room for error. Passing safely along these roadways is possible, however there is no denying this becomes difficult if traffic is travelling consistently in both ways.

The events in Sherwood Park are heartbreaking, and the exact cause of the event has yet to come out. Time will tell if speed was a factor in this incident and as of right now that information is completely unknown.

Regardless it is a well-known fact speed is far too often a factor in accidents resulting in death or injury.

People are busy, the world is crazy, there are places to be, promises to keep, and responsibilities to attend to. We get that. How much time is speeding really going to save you in the long run though? Going 130 in a 100 zone will maybe shave a few minutes off of a half hour drive, if that.

The time gained is a small reward to balance against the risk being an aggressive driver creates.

Slow down. You never know whose life you might be saving by doing so.

Editorials reflect the collective opinion of the Spruce Grove Examiner and Stony Plain Reporter editorial team.

jothomas@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JoshThomasRepEx

epretzer@postmedia.com

twitter.com/EvanJPretzer

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