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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Little Gift from Us to You

One of the glories of Twitter is you never seem more than a few minutes removed from news as it happens.

One of its downfalls is sometimes you never seem removed from it at all.

Occasionally I shut off my TweetDeck, with its parade of pop-up windows accompanied by sonar pings, and give that one connection to the outside world a few hours of down time. This is particularly handy when the news of the day is, shall we say, a bit fluffy.

Today, though, it was impossible to ignore the steady stream of tweets about bad things happening on Arizona highways: A multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 south of Phoenix, possibly caused by blowing dust, resulting in fatalities; another collision on Interstate 40 near Williams in snowy, white-out conditions; warnings of severe winds between Phoenix and California, also on I-10.

The info was flying so fast, some folks – including me – were confusing old events for new ones, the classic newsroom pitfall when emergencies seem to surface in staccato bursts.

While this highway melee has less impact on me personally since I won’t be traveling on I-10 today, nor attempting to drive in snow this Christmas, it still leaves me a bit apprehensive. It’s also hard for me to grasp and process the personal tragedies that these accidents beget during what is supposed to be the “most wonderful time of the year.”

How easy is it for me to repeat our mantra to be vigilant, be prepared, have a plan?

How easy could it have been me or one of my kids in one of those accidents?

How easy is it to enjoy the weather without being harmed in it?

It can start with this little gift: Remember how to drive safely in bad conditions, and check out the always-popular winter driving safety primer.

The rest depends on you. And me. It should be so easy.

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