There is a sign on a lawn in Vineyard Haven that reads, Drive Like Your Children Live Here. A good idea, but perhaps too narrow a sentiment, implying that there is a divide behind the wheel between how Islanders and summer visitors navigate the roads. In truth, everyone can be at fault for driving too fast and we should all remember to drive responsibly.
Extra precautions are needed, however, in vacation communities. For one, there are a lot of kids running about, chasing balls and butterflies, hurrying through parking lots on the way to the beach or just learning how to ride a bicycle for the first time — no training wheels required. It takes sharp eyes, both of which need to be on the road and not texting or searching for that perfect summer song to play, to drive with caution. At the risk of nagging, why not put down the phone entirely while driving? Listen to the summer wind rush by and smell the salt air instead of making appointments and dinner reservations.
There is also the matter of infrastructure. The Island swells with people and cars in the summer, but the roads do not suddenly grow wider with extra lanes. Sitting in traffic is frustrating, but don’t let it lead to a heavier than usual accelerator when finally encountering an open road.
There are also two distinctly different agendas occurring each day. Some people are headed to work, trying to make the most of the summer income. Others are on vacation trying to make the most of the summer sun.
Both activities are of equal importance. But safety, for drivers and pedestrians, is even more so.
Have a happy and slow summer.