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Aaron Johnson: Give ‘em a ‘brake’!

There is nothing like a good road trip. The thrill of hitting the highway with no destination in mind is something like a rite of passage in America.

Recently I met two young ladies who took a senior road trip to Tennessee. That sounds pretty tame, and that is exactly what they wanted their parents to think. They indeed took a road trip to Tennessee and stayed every night there. 

However, each day they hit the road. They went to Chicago, Indianapolis, Asheville, St. Louis, and points beyond. And they spent each night in Tennessee. I don’t remember their names, but I love them!

Last summer, my wife and I took out oldest grand on a trip out west. We drove from Atlanta to San Francisco to Yellowstone and back. We drove either 7,425 miles or 7,245 miles. 

It was epic! 

We towed our camper the entire way so we were never without a place to sleep; albeit a truck stop or rest area had to do a few nights. I just love a good truck stop.

As thrilling as the drive is, a traffic jam is as frustrating. While driving through Arkansas on I-40 we ran into a traffic jam. At once I switched on my trusty CB radio. Yes, I have a CB, and my “handle” is the Deputy Dog. 

Talking to truckers has always been a thrill, too. Trees had been blown across the highway and a parade of traffic waited on highway workers to clear them away. It was raining and dark.  

Which brings me to the point of my thought. An internet search confirmed that in 2022, 118 police officers died in the line of duty. In that same period, 96 firefighters lost their lives in the line of duty. The loss of a single life is tragic. It may be even more tragic when we realize they died doing something for other people.  

Another internet search gave graphics for deaths of highway workers. 

The latest year reporting a complete year is 2021. In that year alone, 1,253 highway workers died in the line of duty. An additional 25,830 were injured badly enough to cause a loss of work time. These numbers reflect only those killed or injured due to traffic accidents. Who knew?  

As I drive the highways and back roads of our country, I regularly see workers risking their lives to pick up our trash, fill a pothole, mow the medians and other road construction. I also notice that few people slow down unless there are blue lights flashing. 

Every person filling a pothole, putting up Christmas decorations, or repairing a street sign, is someone’s son or daughter, father or mother, husband or wife.

Give them a brake. For the sake of someone’s family please slow down. 

The road trip will be much better when we all get home safely.

Aaron Johnson is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News. He is pastor of Christ Redeemer Church in Guntersville.

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