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Editorial: School’s in … take your time

A school bus with its stop sign out and lights flashing.
A school bus with its stop sign out and lights flashing.

Wednesday morning, it was immediately obvious that summer — an excellent summer, weather-wise — had come to a close.

No, not because of a change in the weather, but because of a change in the traffic.

For all of August and part of July, it’s been clear from St. John’s streets that vacations were fully underway. The amount of traffic on thoroughfares was lower and drivers seemed less stressed, and a summer calm extended from the deck to the drive to work.

Well, that’s all over.

Traffic volumes were clearly up on Wednesday morning, school buses were making their appearance, and people were flying out of their local coffee shops like their very lives depended on grabbing that first available tiny opening in traffic.

Overnight, it was like the summer’s relaxation had simply disappeared.

Everyone from police forces to television weather personalities and radio hosts have already given their “school’s back” warnings, talking about school zones and potential tickets.

But we’re going to add to the warnings in a different way.

For parents?

Take your time. Even if Kevin won’t get out of bed and Belinda won’t eat her breakfast, even if you are late dropping the precious angels off at school, the world is not going to end. It will look a lot more like it’s ending if, in your rush and carelessness, you find yourself in an accident, especially if it involves one of the excited and incautious children so carefully not paying attention on their way to school.

Things that look like a crisis on an average day pale next to a true crisis.

For everyone else? Take the next week or so to cut other people some slack. If you don’t have kids yet, or if yours are grown and gone, the start of the school year is a much gentler thing. Just because traffic is heavier, doesn’t mean you have to perform like a Nascar driver. You don’t have to race through that yellow light, or turn right without looking for pedestrians of all sizes. You could start to work a little earlier for a week or two, pay more attention while you’re on the lookout for the unexpected, and remember that, for parents, the daily grind just got a lot grindier.

Things will settle onto an even keel in the next few weeks, and the new normal will be firmly in place almost before you notice it.

The next driving calamity?

Well, that comes when the weather gods decide to drop that first small slick of snow into the mix, and we get the annual spate of cars in ditches and on their roofs, as drivers show that they’re destined to repeat the history they seem incapable of remembering.

We’ve done this before, people. We can do it again

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