You know that feeling when you learn something for the first time it becomes much more apparent to you in daily life? It's like a deliverance from ignorance--you understand more of the little things around you or you're more observant of your surroundings. I'll give an example, because I'm starting to get a little "out there."
I decided to go to the JMU-William and Mary football game this weekend with some of my friends. As we were pleasantly riding down 64-E taking in all the beautiful scenery that Fall has painted on the mountains, it struck me how dangerous it was to go 70+ miles per hour in a vehicle weight more than ton next to vehicles doing the exact same thing. We passed by Staunton and as we were continuing towards Waynesboro, about 2 cars up from ours a tractor-trailer started to merge into the left lane (I'm still confused as to why--it seemed completely unnecessary). The car continued to stay in his blind spot causing me to verbally express how concerned I was (in a very non-professional way). My passenger shrieked in terror too, but somehow the truck knew exactly his time and place in the moment and tucked his way cozily into our lane. My roommate piped up and said "wow... that was incredibly dangerous." My response was literally: "go watch a traffic video from Russia and get back to me."
Later in the car ride, I noticed one of my passengers not wearing her seatbelt. I made some sassy remark how I was going to prove to her seatbelts were a good thing and she understood that I was ridiculing her for the sake of her safety. After I ran over a couple rumble-strips on the shoulder, she obliged to "make me happy."
Fast-forward about 2 hours and we arrive in Williamsburg. Unfortunately for us, it was William and Mary's Homecoming weekend, so there were people EVERYWHERE. I carefully drove through downtown avoiding pedestrians better than a middle school girl avoiding her parents at the mall. It struck me that maybe we could improve how we do things... even if we aren't as bad as Russia, India, The Gambia, etc.
What this weekend taught me was the varying levels of traffic safety we take for granted everyday. My generation has grown up with seatbelts, most of us wear them everyday and it's become a habit (which is great!) for us to wear them--they'll save your life. We have crosswalks, we have turn signals, and we have rumble strips. We're actually pretty blessed to have the safety that we have although we may not be excited when we get a ticket for not following the traffic laws. More specifically, since learning was injury epidemiology is, and more specifically, traffic injury epidemiology, I've become more in tune with how well-off we are in America, but how there's still room for improvement.
We may never get to the point where we have zero injuries from traffic issues, but that shouldn't stop us from attempting to reach perfection.