No, this didn't happen. But it nearly did only two days ago, all because the tow truck driver thought his time was more important than the lives of a Mother, her two children, and four other school patrols. I'm thankful our school has an adult school patrol helping these young 9-year-olds out with their duties, because without him, that headline is exactly what you would have seen in the paper yesterday.
Everyone knows what this is:
Everyone knows what this is:
Yet, more and more Winnipeg drivers are relying on the old "Manitoba Roll-through". Which I wouldn't mind if the streets were deserted and the driver was the only one on it. However, that is not what is going on. Winnipeg drivers are doing these at all times of day and most dangerously in school zones. These days according to drivers, stop does not mean stop.
Everyone knows what these are:
Or so I thought. Lately, it seems they have no clue what patrols are, and they are apparently invisible beings as well. Take today when I was picking my son up from school. A lady didn't even stop before the stop sign. She stopped just after the stop sign right in front of the patrols who now cannot let their school mates across the street because this vehicle made an illegal stop. The kicker? Two other vehicles were stopped properly at their stop signs before this lady. One was waiting to make a left turn, but couldn't because the lady's stop wasn't a full stop. It was a roll through. You know, the push on the brake for a one second stop and then go without paying attention to anything else around you, because surely you are the only driver on the road. So not only do stop signs, not mean stop, and school patrols are invisible. But you guessed it, the Winnipeg driver is the only person on the road and only their time and life are valuable. What a self-centered city we have become. What ever happened to Friendly Manitoba? Oh wait, that's only when we aren't driving.
I personally am sick and tired of being worried if my child or another child will be run down by an impatient driver. Guess what, it's not only, "strangers", I have seen parents of the students who go to my son's school make very dangerous stops, and decisions. Like dropping their kid off at the corner, while they are stopped at the stop sign. 1. Bad decisions you are teaching your kids. 2. You are holding up traffic 3. In winter especially, they can slip and fall under your vehicle and you can run over them. Not Possible? Stranger things have happened.
I did make a report to the police about the tow truck. Unfortunately, because they were not there to see it, he won't be ticketed, etc. And that is one of the biggest problems. Unless, the police are there to see it, not much can be done. Drivers know this and continue to act stupid. This is how people get killed. I'm over it. These are our neighbourhoods. We know where the schools are, we know the children that patrol and who go there, yet when it comes to our time they become faceless strangers. It's time to wake up before it's too late.
As for me, I'm going to keep taking liscence plates and descriptions. I will keep vigilant in making sure I'm driving safe. I am also considering very seriously standing at this particular intersection with a video camera and handing that in to the police. If that doesn't work, you never know, you might be the next Winnipegger starring on YouTube.
Here are tips to make the drive safe for yourself and the school children in your neighbourhood:
1. Be aware of your driving habits. If you are completely incapable of driving like a responsible adult don't drive. If you must drive, stay the heck away from school zones. But it's the quickest way to get to your destination? Too bad, drive the long way around, or drive like a responsible adult.
2. Be aware of where the school zones are. Generally, those giant brick building with the jungle gyms and bus loops are these learning centers we like to call Schools. They house hundreds to thousands of children during the school day. These zones extend from this brick building for a few blocks, and during the hours of 7-9:00am and 2:30-4:30pm they extend to your entire neighbourhood.
3. Stop just before the stop sign. When you do this, you leave a good five feet before the sidewalk and a good 8 feet between you and the pedestrian. In this case, the patrol that is required to stand in the street using their body as a shield between you and the school aged child and sometimes their parent. You get that? Patrols in all regards are human sheilds. 9-YEAR-OLD HUMAN SHEILDS!
4. Don't just look at the patrols at your stop sign. What are the patrols doing to the left or right of you if you are turning in that direction? What are the patrols doing right across the street from you? Are they standing on the sidewalk or are they standing in the street helping their charges across? Don't just drive willy nilly into the intersection and then have to stop half way through. This makes everyone nervous and causes our 9-year-old pratrols to make bad judgement calls because they don't have the life experience to go off of like adults do. That would be why we are old enough to get a driver's liscence and they are not. They get scared and want to jump back onto the sidewalk forgetting about their charges. I don't know about you, but even as a 35-year-old woman, if I saw a huge metal beast coming at me, I'd want to head for the hills too.
5. PEDESTRIANS HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! Really? Do I have to explain this to you as well?
6. If you are late, too bad. Leave earlier. Why should my child or someone else's have to pay for your inability to get your ass out of the house earlier?
I'm pretty sure I've covered it all. If I haven't, and you can't figure out what else you can do to keep everyone safe, than nothing I've said or could say will make a difference and you really have no business driving.