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Make safety a priority this holiday season

By By Chuck Bodiford Publisher
This past Christmas Eve is a time that will not soon be forgotten in the Bodiford household. The event that occurred that night is one of those things that will be discussed over the dinner table for years to come. When talked about the adrenaline will start to rush and those listening will begin to feel as though they themselves were there that night. What I am referring to is the story on the front page where a driver of a Ford Expedition drove into the front of my mom and dad's house.
It's one of those things that you here about but never really think could actually occur to you or someone you know. My family has lived in that house for over fifteen years and I would guess that the topic of someone driving into their house never came up. Unfortunately, it can happen to you or someone you know. My family was very fortunate that this story did not have a different ending, one that would have someone else writing the front story.
The Alabama Department of Public Safety has narrowed the Christmas traffic period down to 102 hours in which most accidents will occur. This timeframe extends from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 24 to midnight, Sunday, December 28. It is amazing how accurate this timeframe can be, only four to five hours after we entered into the Christmas traffic period a driver lost control of his vehicle for one reason or another and hit my parent's home. The Alabama Department of Safety goes further to predict that 17 people will lose their lives during this Christmas travel period. I can't say how grateful I am that three members of my family are not included in that statistic, however, that leaves a possible 17 other people who could potentially lose their life.
Even though there will only be roughly 19 hours in this Christmas traffic period when you read this column, now is not the time to take safety lightly. Please be careful out there for the remainder of the day, and also note that in less than a week another 102-hour period will begin due to New Years Eve and Day. Those times start from 6 p.m. on Wednesday, December 31 to midnight, January 4, 2004.
It is important that as drivers we take heed and use caution when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle. In only a matter of moments, a wayward glance or impulsive action can shatter a family for the rest of their lives.
Chuck Bodiford is an Atmore native and publisher of the Atmore Advance. He may be reached by calling 368-2123 or by email at chuck.bodiford@atmoreadvance.com