Slow Down…That’s My Grandpa!

I was watching the news last night (well, not really watching, more like listening; I was busy finishing up some chores and had the television on) when I heard a little boy sobbing and choking out the words: “He was my grandpa and now he’s dead.” I immediately ran over to the television to try to find out who this young boy’s grandpa was and how he died.

I found out that the boy’s 55-year-old grandpa was one of two local highway workers killed while filling potholes on a busy highway near my home. Apparently, traffic was slowed down to about 45 miles per hour in the area, when a semi-truck driver tried to swerve to miss a station wagon that was slowing down to change lanes. (Another news report said that the car’s driver was actually trying to give the workers some additional space.) Investigators believe the semi driver was caught off-guard and hit the back of the station wagon, then the workers’ truck, and then the two men doing repairs. (Both died instantly.)

The reason this is the topic of a travel blog is that it serves as a reminder about the importance of being a vigilant driver, regardless of where your travels take you. I will be the first to admit that when I see road construction signs I ease off the gas pedal, but often I find myself only slowing down to just under the speed of the car in front of me. And as I pass by at speeds that more than likely exceed the ones posted, I see highway workers to the right and left of me. However, I never took the time to contemplate that these men and women were grandpas, fathers, brothers, mothers, sisters and aunts and by driving cautiously I can do my part to help make their jobs a little safer. What’s more, now I will never be able to drive through another highway work zone without remembering the heartbreaking sobs of that young boy I saw on television.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.