Avert tragedy on area roads with our children

Published 10:00 pm Monday, September 28, 2015

To the editor:

I’ve lived near Lake Lanier for 27 years as a full time year-round resident. Anyone who has ever driven around this area knows how dangerous, curvy, blind and slow conditions exist. I have had literally dozens of encounters on Lakeshore Drive with ATV’s, golf carts and quad-runners that almost always encounter near misses by operators of these illegal vehicles on a county road.

And it surprises me how many times I have seen children operating these vehicles on the same road as my 1 ½ ton truck. I won’t bore readers with the story of every time I have seen this, but I will tell two incidents that did happen.

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I was on my home from the store and about 100 yards away from the small road I live on. As I negotiated a very slow and blind left curve (I have driven around it thousands of times) coming right at me were no less than three vehicles. The first was an ATV piloted by a girl who looked to be about 12 years old. Behind her was a golf cart, driven by two other small girls (maybe 14) and behind them was another ATV driven by a small boy (maybe 14 years old as well). The girl in the first ATV was looking backwards and talking to her two friends behind her in the golf cart and didn’t even see my truck. I narrowly missed her and her entourage and saw the look of shock of their faces as they passed me.

Imagine how that instant may have turned out differently and how I was shaking just a bit as I got home.

My second story concerns the two young girls I passed this weekend, crossing over the  bridge on a golf cart (one lane) and then had an encounter with one of the girls’ father. He wanted to know why I had a problem with his daughter and what business I had voicing my displeasure at her.

I very politely told him that I didn’t have any problem with her or her friend (since I have no idea which one was his child).

I told him that my real problem was with him and his wife!  My life, their lives, their parents lives, family, friends, etc. who could have been affected if some tragic collision occurred. I place the blame for this sad situation directly at the feet of the parents, who not only participate in this, but allow their children to pilot these vehicles, unsupervised on public roads. Those children did not buy those vehicles, they did not steal them. The parents bought them. They got the keys to start them and permission from their parents to drive them.

I hate to remind this community about the death of a 16-year-old boy a few years ago on Lake Road from Landrum who had a head on collision with an elderly lady about one mile from my house. She lived and must feel pretty awful, but imagine how his parents feel? Why were they not charged with a crime? I never want to feel like that.

I completely understand why some people view Lakeshore Road as a quiet and relatively easy place to walk, jog, take out the dog and enjoy, but please stop putting yourselves and other drivers like me in danger.

William Squires
Lake Lanier, S.C.