It becomes second nature to slide into the driver’s seat, snap the seat belt, fire up the engine and head on your way.
It takes a serious wake-up call for us to remember just how much responsibility we shoulder when we operate a motor vehicle.
The recent crash that resulted in the death of John Shumaker rocked our small community — and, at the same time, drastically altered the course of life for the driver of the vehicle who struck Shumaker’s vehicle.
That driver, according to police, was operating under the influence of drugs.
What will it take for people to learn that drinking and driving or drug abuse just don’t mix?
There are countless ways to avoid it: Don’t drink. Don’t do drugs. If you do either, don’t drive. Find a ride from a friend. Call a cab. Stay with a friend.
Maybe making one of those choices will get you in trouble. Tough. Deal with it. If you’re going to succumb to the temptation of alcohol or drugs, then it’s your responsibility to deal with the consequences.
If you don’t, look at what can happen. A family is now without its loving husband and father, and the driver of the car who caused the head-on collision — just 24 years old with his entire life ahead of him — is facing up to 15 years in prison.
It’s a heartbreaking situation, made all the worse by the fact that it was brought about by such a serious lack of judgment.
So please, when you get behind the wheel, be sure you’re in a suitable state of mind to drive. Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t text, don’t fiddle with your GPS. And by all means, don’t drink or do drugs before driving.
Somebody’s life could depend on it, and that somebody could be you.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.