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From roller skates to rollerblades, skating has long been a favorite pastime for America ’s youth. Not only does it provide good exercise, but it also provides a means of transportation other than bicycling for those who—for lack of license or funds—cannot drive a car. And while in-line skating appears to be a rather harmless hobby, provided that you take the proper safety precautions , even the most cautious are sometimes injured by something beyond their control.

I recently wrote about the dangers of drunk driving , and the dire consequences it can have for innocent bystanders. Apparently, such was the case just this past weekend in Iowa . A 17-year-old Chicago teen was in Des Moines , visiting his mother for the summer. He was in-line skating with a friend, when a car veered onto the sidewalk, hitting and killing the teen.

According to authorities , the driver initially hit the teen and kept on driving, only to be stopped an hour later for speeding and driving with a broken windshield. The driver is currently being charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, hit-and-run and intoxicated driving.

Stories like this one remind us how important it is we remember that driving is a privilege and, as such, should be exercised responsibly. Remind yourself and your kids—driving age and not—to always ‘look out for the other guy.’ It might seem clichéd, but in today’s age of dizzying distractions , it’s more important than ever to emphasize the importance of paying attention. And, for those of us lacing up our skates, it’s imperative to wear a helmet, just as it is for bicyclists , to give ourselves the best chance of surviving injuries.

It goes to show you that even when you take steps toward safety, the ‘other guy’ might shirk his responsibility and put you at risk in the process. So, keep your eyes and ears open, doing what you can to protect both yourself and your neighbors. And, please, don’t be the ‘other guy.’

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