A terrible week on our roads leaves families devastated
This has been a horrific week on our roads with a shocking loss of life that has brought unimaginable grief to so many families.
It is a toll of death that seems relentless with the past few days underlining how a life can be ended in a split second.
County Donegal, which has had more than its share of dreadful road accidents, has again seen a number of young people die in tragic circumstances.
In the early hours of yesterday, two men and one woman were killed when two cars collided on a minor road just outside Letterkenny. Another man was taken to hospital with serious injuries.
This was a deeply distressing incident with the youngest of the victims just 18 years old.
There will be enormous sympathy for the families of the three who lost their lives. To be told a child has died in an accident is every parent's worst nightmare.
And when a child loses a parent, as has also happened in the past few days, is the most terrible blow, causing immense pain and suffering and a profound sense of loss that does not end.
Thursday's fatal crash came less than 24 hours after two men aged 28 and 19 died when their car was in collision with a van on a dual carriageway near Letterkenny, an incident currently being investigated by the Garda Ombudsman's office
Meanwhile, the families of two women killed in a crash in Randalstown, Co Antrim on Monday have been left devastated by their loss.
Lorraine Clyde and Michelle McStravick performed a valuable service to the community as care workers and when they left for work that morning, neither they nor their families had any idea of the tragedy that lay ahead.
Far too many people die on our roads and the statistics tell a grim tale. This year to date 35 people have died in Northern Ireland and 105 in the Republic.
It is sad to think that these are people who were alive this time last year, enjoying family gatherings, making plans for the future and doing all the normal, everyday things we perhaps take for granted.
Crashes happen for a number of reasons and the police will need to determine what caused the fatal incidents of recent days.
But we have been told time after time what the main risks are - speed, inattention, drink driving and reckless or careless behaviour.
If nothing else, the high number of deaths in the past week should make every motorist resolve to drive as carefully and safely as possible each time they get behind the wheel.