Monday's runaway van incident could have been a lot worse.

Time to give us a brake

The topic of today’s editorial might seem a little silly: parking brakes.

The topic of today’s editorial might seem a little silly: parking brakes. Why would a newspaper take 297 words to explain the importance of a common feature on vehicles?

In this story you can read about the runaway mini-van that bounced down Sixth Street and came to an abrupt halt when it hit a house on Gordon Road. Amazingly the unmanned one-block journey only did minor damage. It certainly could have been a lot worse.

It was fortunate that the mini-van popped its parking gear at 10 a.m. There were no children walking to school, traffic on busy Gordon Road was minimal when the car powered through the stop sign and moms on their morning walk with strollers had not yet set out for the day.

When Nelson Star editor Bob Hall spoke with the vehicle owner at the scene, he was rightfully a little rattled. His concern wasn’t about the damage to his vehicle, the possible ticket from police or the fact his work day was now ruined. His was simply thankful nobody was hurt.

Like most of us, the owner of this vehicle sets the parking brake “most of the time.” On this day he didn’t and the consequences could have been life changing.

Even simple mistakes and brief moments of forgetting the obvious can result in tragedy. Had his mini-van hit a kid walking on the sidewalk or seriously injured another driver, those are the mistakes that haunt you forever.

It may seem silly that we need to remind drivers in this mountainside community lined with steep streets about taking that extra second to set the parking brake. Silly? Perhaps. But if these 297 words prevent another similar accident and maybe even a horrible tragedy, then it’s space well used.


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