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Road rage and death on the highway

Unintended consequences. The problem with driving is that we all do it too much. Our cars are like extensions of our living rooms. They have comfortable seats, air conditioning, cup holders, TV screens, phones and any number of bells and whistles to keep us comfortable and amused. Nevertheless, there is a significant difference between our vehicle and a room in our house.

It can, and frequently does, travel with a velocity in excess of 100 feet per second. Basic physics teaches us that force is calculated by multiplying the mass or weight of an object by its acceleration or speed. What is the force of an average vehicle traveling at 60 or 70 miles per hour when it strikes another object? In a car accident, we see the effect of that force in the shattered, torn and rent pieces of metal, left in the aftermath of a catastrophic crash.

We also see it in the shattered lives of the survivors and their families after a fatal accident. A horrific crash this Sunday, outside of Houston on FM 1492 was apparently the result of road rage, with a husband chasing his wife at high speed on the road.

According to a news report, the man "was speeding, passing other cars recklessly, trying to catch another vehicle driven by his wife," when he lost control of his pickup and it spun out sideways into the oncoming lane.

He struck a car carrying a mother with her 2-year-old son. The mother was pronounced dead at the scene. The boy died the next day.

It was an accident, in the sense that he did not leave his driveway with the intention of killing a woman and her child, but it was certainly foreseeable that this could happen. Your car is not your personal plaything, to do with it what you will. It is a potentially dangerous instrumentality and failing to remember that when driving can have tragic, deadly consequences.

Source: KHOU.com, "Toddler injured in alleged road rage crash that killed Baytown mom also dies," Kevin Reece, October 1, 2013

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