Jennifer Vikjord

Jennifer Vikjord

Hey, dummies! It's foggy! Turn on your headlights.

Before I go on with that, let me tell you a little backstory about myself. My stories will be colorful enough without you coming up with something on your own.

I have lived in Hanford for a little over 17 years. My ex-husband moved us here because of work. I grew up in the Modesto area in the tiny community of Riverbank. Anyone who has taken Amtrak will tell you about Riverbank. It’s a lot like Armona: A small, everyone-knew-everyone, very proud type of community. I loved living in a small town so when the opportunity arose to move to the area I knew Hanford/Lemoore area was where I wanted to live.

I have three children – two teenagers and one preteen. And honestly if I can live through them graduating and going to college, I can live through anything. I also have a fiancé who I live with who has a preteen and elementary age child. So yes you read that right, I have four children living with us 50 percent of the time and one who lives with us full-time. I can’t make up the things that happen to us.

The main thing about me is I am very vocal. My mom, or mother as my oldest likes to call me, would say I am too vocal, but someone has to be. I feel too many of us just sit back and complain about an issue but don’t do anything to change it. I was explaining to my middle child when she was telling me about her English class, sometimes it just takes one person to start a revolution. Not that I think any of my words will cause something as crazy as the end of civilizations as we know them, but it might make two or three you question why.

While I love living in a small community like ours, the dummies make me rethink that. 

TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS WHEN IT’S FOGGY. I mean, come on, how hard is it. If you have a car even 10 years or newer, you have daylight running lights. If yours does not come on, then that means you have either physically turned them off or you have something wrong with your car.

And if you have a light colored car like I do, you really need to make sure they are turned on. I can sorta see if you have only lived here a year or two, but most people have lived here for quite some time and are not new to the fog. So it is beyond me that I have to flash my lights at people.

I was telling everyone at work this morning that I really wanted to follow people, and when they stopped, yell at them to turn their lights on next time they drove in the fog. But I thought that would lead to the reporters having a nice story about their crazy colleague stalking people. I really wasn’t fond of that idea, so I wrote this column instead.

Let me give you a few statistics to back up my rant. In the 10 year period from 2002-2012, there were an estimated 1.3 million weather-related vehicle crashes each year in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Now these do include wet, snowy/icy roads and/or fog. But when you break it all apart, these are the annual averages:

• 31,385 crashes

• 511 deaths

• 11,812 injured

I was involved one of those statistics when I was involved in a fog-related crash when I was 19. I know the first thing everyone wants to think: It was my fault because of my age at the time. But it wasn’t. I was sitting at a stop sign behind a row of cars and the car behind me failed to stop.

I can remember sitting there at the stop sign just watching the car get closer and closer (mind you she didn’t have her head lights on but, it was a dark car so I could see it still). She slammed into me going 35 miles per hour. I was at dead stop. I actually had my foot pressed hard on the break because I was afraid she was going to slam me into the car in front of me.

When it was done, my trunk was in my back seat, my back seat was in the front seat and my passenger and I were in the dashboard. This little, thankfully survived, accident changed my life. I was afraid to drive. I was especially afraid to drive when the weather was not perfect. I dropped out of college. I had 6 months of doctors' appointments, dealing with insurance companies and so on. Everything was different at that point. I was a lucky one though because in the end I still was alive.

I know turning on your headlights seems like a meaningless thing but it truly can save your life and the life of the people driving around you. I know sometimes we might just forget but next time you are driving and you see headlights, take that second and just think maybe I should make sure mine are on.

Jennifer Vikjord lives in Hanford and is the advertising director at The Sentinel. Her columns are her opinions and may not reflect those of the editorial board. 

Hey, dummies! It's foggy! Turn on your headlights.

Before I go on with that, let me tell you a little backstory about myself. My stories will be colorful enough without you coming up with something on your own.

I have lived in Hanford for a little over 17 years. My ex-husband moved us here because of work. I grew up in the Modesto area in the tiny community of Riverbank. Anyone who has taken Amtrak will tell you about Riverbank. It’s a lot like Armona: a small, everyone-knew-everyone, very proud type of community. I loved living in a small town so when the opportunity arose to move to the area I knew Hanford/Lemoore area was where I wanted to live.

I have three children – 2 teenagers and 1 preteen. And honestly if I can live through them graduating and going to college, I can live through anything. I also have a boyfriend who I live with who has a preteen and elementary age child. So yes you read that right, I have 4 children living with us 50 percent of the time and 1 who lives with us full-time. I can’t make up the things that happen to us.

The main thing about me is I am very vocal. My mom, or mother as my oldest likes to call me, would say I am too vocal, but someone has to be. I feel too many of us just sit back and complain about an issue but don’t do anything to change it. I was explaining to my middle child when she was telling me about her English class, sometimes it just takes one  person to start a revolution. Not that I think any of my words will cause something as crazy as the end of civilizations as we know them, but it might make two or three you question why.

While I love living in a small community like ours, I absolutely hate how stupid people here can be.

TURN ON YOUR HEADLIGHTS WHEN IT’S FOGGY. I mean, come on, how hard is it. If you have a car even 10 years or newer, you have daylight running lights. If yours does not come on, then that means you have either physically turned them off or you have something wrong with your car.

And if you have a light colored car like I do, you really need to make sure they are turned on. I can sorta see if you have only lived here a year or two,  but most people have lived here for quite some time and are not new to the fog. So it is beyond me that I have to flash my lights at people.

I was telling everyone at work this morning that I really wanted to follow people, and when they stopped, yell at them to turn their lights on next time they drove in the fog. But I thought that would lead to the reporters having a nice story about their crazy colleague stalking people. I really wasn’t fond of that idea, so I wrote this column instead.

Let me give you a few statistics to back up my rant. In the 10 year period from 2002-2012, there were an estimated 1.3 million weather-related vehicle crashes each year in the United States, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Now these do include wet, snowy/icy roads and/or fog. But when you break it all apart, these are the annual averages:

• 31,385 crashes

• 511 deaths

• 11,812 injured

I was involved one of those statistics when I was involved in a fog-related crash when I was 19. I know the first thing everyone wants to think: It was my fault because of my age at the time. But it wasn’t. I was sitting at a stop sign behind a row of cars and the car behind me failed to stop.

I can remember sitting there at the stop sign just watching the car get closer and closer (mind you she didn’t have her head lights on but, it was a dark car so I could see it still). She slammed into me going 35 miles per hour. I was at dead stop. I actually had my foot pressed so hard on the break because I was afraid she was going to slam me into the car in front of me.

When it was done, my trunk was in my back seat, my back seat was in the front seat and my passenger and I were in the dashboard. This little, thankfully survived, accident changed my life. I was afraid to drive. I was especially afraid to drive when the weather was not perfect. I dropped out of college. I had 6 months of doctors' appointments, dealing with insurance companies, and so on. Everything was different at that point. I was a lucky one though because in the end I still was alive.

I know turning on your headlights seems like a meaningless thing but it truly can save your life and the life of the people driving around you. I know sometimes we might just forget but next time you are driving and you see headlights, take that second and just think maybe I should make sure mine are on.

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