Friday, Jul 25th

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You are here: Home Opinion Paula I. Bryant PAULA I. BRYANT: Arrive alive

PAULA I. BRYANT: Arrive alive

What happens to drivers on the weekend around here? It starts on Friday afternoons when normal, sane, otherwise careful drivers seem to lose it as they try to get to their destinations in a break-neck hurry.

And where do all these folks come from? When the weekend gets close, it seems people come out of the woodwork, and all of them are in a hurry.

While driving on Halifax Road and Old Halifax Road in Centerville Friday afternoon, cars and trucks were darting in and out of traffic in an attempt to pass the vehicles in front of them, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why everyone was in such a hurry. 

Of course I had a list of chores I wanted to check off my weekend to-do list too, but I was surely not in that big of a hurry to get started on them. They would be there when I got to them.

I watched the vehicles flit back and forth, and one of those times a driver had to whip it back into his lane so quickly, I was certain he was about to become a hood ornament on an oncoming car.

It just got me to thinking, where is he going that he has to rip up the road like that to get there.

And almost every car out there on Friday afternoon had a driver talking on a cell phone as they scurried to their destinations. 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Virginia, and Drive Smart Virginia wants to use the month to bring attention to distracted driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger and bystander safety.

Eight out of 10 traffic crashes in Virginia are related to a distracted driving incident. In the United States in 2012, 3,328 people were killed in crashes caused by a distracted driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

An estimated 421,000 people were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.

When behind the wheel, driving should always be the top priority and especially around here on Friday afternoons. 

But how many times have you observed drivers eating and drinking, setting their GPS or radios or talking or texting on their phones?

Reading an average text message takes nearly five seconds, which means your eyes can be off the road for the entire length of a football field. Even talking on a cell phone is distracting and reduces brain activity associated with driving by 37 percent.

And now texting while driving is against the law, so that’s one more huge reason to put the phone down while in the driver’s seat.

As of July 1, Virginia has had a primary texting and driving law. Any driver who uses a phone to manually enter multiple letters or text in an effort to communicate with another person is guilty of texting and driving. 

It’s also illegal to read any email or text message. A fine for a first offense is $125. A second or subsequent offense carries a $250 fine.

From July 1 to Dec. 31 after the law went into effect, Virginia State Troopers stopped and charged 567 drivers for violating the new law.

All of us need to slow down and take it easy when driving on the weekend, or any other time, for that matter. 

There’s no place any of us are going that we need to drive recklessly and end up hurting someone…or even worse.

Do everyone a favor, slow down, buckle up and arrive alive.


Congrats Molasses Grill

Molasses Grill in Halifax has added one more claim to their fame after being included in the 283-page “Food Lovers’ Guide to Virginia” composed by Lorraine Eaton and Jim Haag and published by Globe Pequot Publishing.

The pair reviewed nearly 200 restaurants and critiqued about 100 ice cream, gourmet, wine and butcher shops as they carefully culled lists of wineries and food festivals during their trek across the state.

In 16 weeks, while holding down their day jobs, the duo finished the manuscript listing 30 must-eat-at places in Virginia with Molasses Grill coming in at #25.

About the Molasses Grill Eaton and Haag wrote:  

“In the vast expanse of central Virginia, towns are like islands surrounded by rolling farmland. It’s impossible to guess where gourmets gather. That’s the case in Halifax. Across from the pillared courthouse, circa 1777, the Molasses Grill has been pleasing refined palates since 2005. That’s when chef Steven Schopen, an English chap with worldly roots, and his wife, Karen, opened this restaurant. Inside, brick walls and burnished pine lend a sense of calm, but opening the menu causes palpitations. Schopen pairs Southern staples with locally sourced ingredients and turns out house-made sausages, breads and dishes such as grilled pork tenderloin with a shellac of bourbon and molasses. Or how about fried chicken and some pimento mac and cheese? Worth the 5-mile or so detour from the straightaway.”