It’s back-to-school time and if you’re a parent, you’ve probably said those words to you child (or children) more than once. You need to pay attention in class! Focus on your school work!
As parents, we want our kids to do well and excel. We need them to pay attention to their teacher (or teachers). We need them to focus on their work. Education is an important thing and most of us stress that (maybe too often).
But it’s not just our kids that need to focus and pay attention; we need to do so too. We ALL (not just parents) need to focus and pay attention, particularly when it comes to getting behind the wheel.
On Wednesday, I received a text and an email from the Verona Police Department letting me know of two new three-way stops in the Laning school area. There are now stop signs at Elk and Laning as well as Overhill and Laning. So when you are driving on any of these roads, we need to focus and pay attention. (Even if we’re late for work!)
Thursday morning I was out doing my daily walk. Yes, I’m the crazy lady who is out the door around 4:30 in the morning and returns home around 6. To get the time and miles in that I feel I need on a daily basis, I have to get up early to walk. It’s what works with my schedule and I’ve come to accept that. I try to vary my route from day to day (although I almost always start with a lap around Martin Road) and while I was walking by Elmwood Road, flashing lights caught my eye. The northbound stop sign at Overhill Road flashes. (As does the southbound stop sign at Elk Road.) Because there are not too many flashing stop signs in Verona, I decided to turn on Elmwood and check it out.
Because the days are getting shorter, it is dark out when I walk. For now, it’s just getting light when I’m in the home stretch of my walk, but soon it will be dark even when I return home. As a result, I wear a florescent pink safety vest so that I am more visible. As I headed towards Overhill on Elmwood, a SUV passed me. I don’t know if the driver saw me or not, but he/she definitely didn’t see the stop sign with the flashing lights. At least I’m assuming they didn’t because they didn’t stop; as a matter of fact they barely slowed down. I didn’t see if this person stopped at the intersection of Elmwood and Elk, but if I had to make a bet, I’d guess not.
Less than a minute later, another SUV drove by. This person DID make a full and complete stop at Overhill/Elmwood. This person also stopped at the Elk/Elmwood intersection, as well they should have. A stop sign means STOP. It doesn’t matter if it’s five o’clock in the morning and there’s no other traffic on the road, stop means STOP.
Verona schools will be in session starting on Wednesday. There will be kids, big and little, from all over town heading to our elementary schools, middle school and high school. We encourage them to focus. As adults, we know they won’t always. Being excited or nervous, they might dash out in a place that we might not expect. It is up to us, to be focused when we are behind the wheel. No matter what time of day or night, we need to pay attention. Our kids, and this early morning walker, are depending on it.
Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than five years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog. The Verona Police Department is rolling out a “Set the Pace for Safety” campaign to get parents, grandparents and caregivers to be more mindful as they drive, park and drop off near Verona’s schools.