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Word Nerd

Signs serve a purpose

As I was driving along, the song "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band started to play on the radio and being old enough to have heard stories of the hippie days from real hippies I sang along for a bit.

But I realized that I don't really agree with the underlying sentiments of the song.

I like to think that I'm a free-thinker and a non-conformist in many ways, but I also think the law is very important. The signs that we see around us are usually put up for very good reasons.

For instance, the other night as I left work I spotted what I think were four girls crossing the street. Now, that in itself isn't so bad. But the girls were crossing against the light in front of moving traffic that could not see them clearly. It was after 5 p.m. and dark.

I only noticed the girls because I heard a high-pitched screech from one of them as a car came to a shuddering halt just before hitting the group. The motorist, rightfully, blasted at the children with the car horn.

That was certainly bad enough, but I saw almost the exact same thing happen the next evening with a group crossing a street despite a "don't walk" sign and a car having to come to an abrupt halt to avoid hitting them.

Traffic signs are the bane of our existence. I know. I've been stuck at a light when traffic was clear. But they also serve a very important purpose: keeping us alive.

Pedestrians in particular ought to be paying attention to traffic laws. It's true that pedestrians have the right-of-way in many cases, but a person on foot is also much smaller and more easily damaged than a car or truck.

So please, for all our sakes, pay attention to the signs.

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