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I’m genuinely concerned. Not in a preachy, easy-target comment way.

It’s just that what I am seeing can be frightening because of the real and present danger.

This specifically has to do with the mad shopping-rush build-up to Christmas.

People are straining and stressing in simultaneous multitudes, leading to traffic crushes on busy urban roads leading to, and in the environs of, car parks at major shopping centres.

I’m not saying people are being reckless on purpose. No, the danger arises as they become increasingly distracted while in close proximity to streams of cars vying for scarce space. The risk level rises when just out-of-car pedestrians shortcut in front of, or behind, moving vehicles.

My reasons for concern are two-fold.

First there are the antics within the car where impatient and tired passengers, many of them young, show an anxiety to get out and move off regardless.

Secondly, there is the behaviour of the drivers, those supposedly in control. They are being distracted as they desperately try to find a parking lot or to squeeze into slots that are often on the tight side.

When you put all these risk ingredients together I begin to fear the worst.

Maybe I am overstating the danger. Maybe I am sitting watching too many near misses (I detest shopping). But I would rather bring you my observations in the hope it might avert an incident.

A few from many include:

:: A four-year-old jumping from the back seat of an Opel Zafira as two large SUVs rolled by. The distraught mother-driver had no control over the child as she tried to get a smaller sibling out of the car seat;

:: A child was standing in the front seat of a Qasqhai as the father, flustered after several attempts to manoeuvre enough room to be able to open his door, lost the cool and half-parked with one hand on the wheel while trying to restrain the child;

:: A visibly tense elderly lady became utterly disconsolate when she returned from shopping to find the rear wiper of her Opel Corsa had been wrung off. She was so upset she drove off up the wrong way and nearly caused an accident as a car came suddenly around the corner;

:: A young driver, and his two pals, eradicated all rear-view vision by pushing a large cardboard box into the raised-hatch rear.

I could go on… there is no point, because what I’m seeing you’re seeing (if you have time like me to wait for, rather than accompany, the shoppers – did I say I hate shopping?)

I just thought it might be timely to bring what I see to your intention.

It is for you to decide if it is someone else’s fault or that you see some traits of your own among the myriad examples of potential danger every single day.

Let me know?

ecunningham@independent.ie

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