Give children a brake: Slow down in base housing

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Will Powell
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Like many first-time fathers-to-be, I find myself paying closer attention to traffic laws and regulations in anticipation of my precious new passenger. Yellow stoplights no longer mean "floor it," and speeding and weaving in and out of lanes just to get to my destination a few seconds quicker isn't worth it.

Having a baby really does change everything.

But when do we forget that protecting our children is more important than getting to our destination quickly?

In the commute to and from work, I notice a lot of drivers exceeding the 15 mph posted speed limit in base housing. This timing unfortunately coincides with when most children are outside.

However, it isn't a matter of when and if children are present. Drivers should abide by the speed limit no matter what time of day it is or who is in the area.

But it's easy to exceed the low speed limit, I know. Even a slight tap of the gas pedal can accelerate a car by 15 mph. This is why everyone who travels through base housing must make a conscious effort and be aware of their speed and their surroundings. Even just one speeder could threaten the life of a child.

So when do you consider yourself speeding? The average person may believe traveling 5 mph over the speed limit is not excessive, but consider this: the average time it takes for a driver to remove his foot from the accelerator and depress the brake pedal is 1.5 seconds. This means that a car moving at 15 mph, or 22 feet per second, will travel 33 feet before the brakes are even applied, according to research conducted at the University of West Virginia.

Naturally, the faster a car is moving, the farther the car will travel before applying the brakes. If a child happens to jump out in front of a moving vehicle, the driver will need every spare second and inch to stop a safe distance from the child.

Despite all the consequences, speeding still occurs too often.

The easiest and safest way to avoid seeing those blue and white lights in your rearview mirror is to slow down and follow the speed limit, especially in the housing areas.

Follow the speed limit. Save yourself some embarrassment. Save a life.