Staff Writer Jose Quintero's story Monday about the alarming uptick in major traffic accidents in Victorville since November certainly was an eye-opener.
The city had 10 major accidents between Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, but since November alone has seen 12 more. Sheriff's deputies said they aren't sure how to account for the tremendous spike, but we seem to notice a trend not only in Victorville but throughout the High Desert.
Anyone who has spent any time on the road at all in the past six weeks surely has noticed that people are driving faster, driving more erratically and seem to be more distracted than ever.
Most areas of Southern California see an increase in traffic around the holidays, partly because residents of colder climates seek out our region because of the warmer weather. But more people also take to the roads in order to do Thanksgiving and Christmas shopping.
All of these factors result in more cars on our roads, even here in the High Desert. And with more cars on the road you naturally see more impatient drivers.
Everybody seems to be in a hurry, but some take their impatience to extremes. Main Street, Bear Valley Road, Nisqualli Road, Hesperia Road, Ranchero Road, Palmdale Road, Apple Valley Road, Highway 395 and Highway 18 all seem like speedways at times, with numerous drivers exceeding posted speed limits by significant amounts.
Add it all together and we're not surprised to see a surge in major traffic collisions; several have resulted in deaths.
So how do we combat this trend? We'd like to think we could appeal to drivers logically and implore them to simply slow down. Unfortunately, that isn't likely to do the trick.
No, what we'd really like to see would be increased traffic enforcement throughout the High Desert. When was the last time you saw a deputy sheriff, police officer or California Highway Patrol officer pull over someone for speeding or reckless driving in our region?
Most of the time, drivers pick their own speeds on our busy main thoroughfares, including Highway 395. A few more speeding citations might catch the attention of the motoring public and convince at least some of them to lower their speeds.
We've seen several crashes involving overturned vehicles in the past couple months. They don't usually occur unless cars are greatly exceeding the posted speed limit.
Save yourself some money, if not a life, and slow down on the roads this holiday season. Turn off your cellphone and avoid texting and driving. Too many families already have lost loved ones this month and last. Christmas will be merrier if everyone pays attention to and abides by traffic laws.