Being thankful for the invisible forces of safety

This morning, you got behind the wheel of your car. You checked traffic, and revised your route. You dropped the kids off at school, and navigated your way to work.

This afternoon, you’ll do the same thing in reverse.

The things that didn’t happen …

You didn’t trip and fall on a broken sidewalk.

Your car didn’t get hit by a garbage truck.

Your kid didn’t get hit by a distracted driver in front of the school. You didn’t drive your car off the edge of an unpaved road.

In short, you didn’t get hurt.

Most of the time, things go well – and we don’t even notice. But your safety isn’t coincidental: it happens by design.

For example, you can be fairly confident that a relatively minor rear-end collision won’t cause your car to explode.

Be thankful for the invisible forces of safety

Cars that have anti-lock brakes, traction control, tire pressure monitoring—plus seat belts and airbags.

Traffic engineers and planners who properly designed roads with signs, curbs, stoplights and sidewalks in the right place.

Construction and maintenance teams that work on streets, bridges, tunnels, sidewalks and guardrails. Well-trained building crews who safely operate heavy cranes in Seattle streets.

Safe school zones, with well-marked and patrolled speed limits, crosswalks and crossing guards.

And all other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians who obey traffic laws and pay attention to their surroundings.

All of the people who fight for the laws and infrastructure that we take for granted.

Accidents happen, but most crashes are not “accidents”.

They are the predictable, preventable result of a bad driving decision, bad road design, or a dangerous product: the invisible made visible.

We are all responsible for a small piece of the safety and well-being of everyone around us. When everyone does their part, everyone is safe, and we don’t even have to notice how it happens.

For every day that all of the invisible forces work to keep my family safe, I am thankful.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!






Most crashes are not “accidents”, but are the predictable, preventable results bad decisions.

It’s time for a change: Why we say “Crash” not “Accident”





Photo credit: CC France1978/Flickr

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One Response

  1. People may give plaintiff’s lawyers a bad rap, but thanks to them, many things we deal with every day are now safer.

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