The Amesbury Beat: Patience is a must as summer draws near

Ordinarily, Memorial Day weekend would be an opportunity to gather for a barbecue, a visit to the beach and an escape to the mountains or Cape Cod.

Memorial Day is also a time to remember those we have lost, especially our military heroes at services and parades. Well, I guess saying 2020 is anything but ordinary thus far would be an understatement.

Memorial Day observances this year will be held virtually, family gatherings will be over Zoom and tourist spots will be a lot less crowded, regardless of the weather. I imagine it will still be some time before we discover our new “normal.”

Finding a balance between personal and economic health is certainly a challenge and something our elected officials and health experts are working through. So, while we are emerging from the COVID-19 crisis and seeing event after event being canceled, one has to wonder what the summer has in store.

Community traditions such as Amesbury Days and Yankee Homecoming have already been canceled along with festivals, concerts and happenings across the nation. It’s going to be difficult to make plans because of the uncertainty as well as potential restrictions for businesses, but the unofficial start of summer is here.

During this crisis, it has been quite remarkable how patient the public generally has been, which leads me to my first summer safety tip: patience.

We generally see quite a bit of traffic in the area during the summer. Motorists should expect the streets to become busier as we recover from cabin fever; yelling, blowing the horn or using hand gestures does not make a commute smoother.

Celebrating is also a summer tradition but do so responsibly and never mix alcohol with an automobile. Impaired driving only leads to trouble, often a court experience and too often a crash so “drive sober or you will get pulled over.”

With the increase in traffic comes an increase in crashes; safety belts save lives but only when you use them. Before any summer trip, regardless of the destination, assure everyone in your vehicle is properly “buckled up.”

Children should be seated in the back seat and please do not hesitate to contact Officer Dave Clark if you have questions about the proper seat to use. He can be reached by email at or by calling 978-388-1217. Summer getaways will be a bit more special this year after the quarantine; please limit distractions when driving so everyone arrives safely.

Lastly, a quick mention about parking rules and regulations; leaving a motor vehicle on the sidewalk is illegal and dangerous.

Although one may think getting the vehicle off the road is a way to improve traffic flow, pedestrians are often forced into the travel lane. The weight of a motor vehicle also causes damage, which can linger for some time before repairs happen.

As we continue to social distance while out and about, having clear and safe sidewalks is a necessity.

Officer Tom Hanshaw retired from the Amesbury Police Department in 2019. 

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