Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2001

A good driver is hard to find

July 26, 2001

In the middle of the afternoon, one would think there would be few reasons for a driver to be distracted. First of all, most people have been awake for several hours, so the possibility of early-morning drowsiness seems unlikely. Second, most afternoons, at least recently, have been filled with heat and had little inclement weather to invade the senses.

The illusion of a calm afternoon can sure make a person feel naive.

After realizing some needed items for work were somehow at home instead of work where I thought they were, I zipped to my Lawrence apartment to grab them. While returning, an individual driving parallel to me, who apparently had no concept of the definition of "blind spot," decided to make a switch from her lane to the left-hand turning lane. The problem was she was in the right-hand lane and I was the white stuff in her traffic Oreo as she began to cross.

She didn't even see me. She didn't even turn around. Fortunately, she came within one inch of making my vehicle as attractive as a cheese grater when she realized I was there. But, this individual (can I call them a person if there's no functioning brain matter?) was only alerted to my presence after slamming on the horn and jolting her back to consciousness.

Though I was shaken, but not stirred, the look on her face was priceless. Ignorance truly is bliss, but learning can sometimes be a full on nightmare.

We sat side-by-side at the light, she, in the turning lane she so desperately needed to be in. I examined her car for signs of impairment. Hmmm she wasn't talking on the phone, no kids in the car, no apparent cracks in her windshield, no signs of being a K-State fan how could someone be so obtuse?

My theory? There should be an immunization against lack of common sense. Here are some common things I think everyone should remember and some have apparently forgotten.

Turn signals are your friend. All production vehicles are equipped with lights in the front and back on both sides of your automobile. These are used to signal which direction a driver intends to move so others are not caught off-guard, thereby increasing the chance of an accident. Use them.

Mirrors are only half the battle. Though all autos come equipped with mirrors (and are seemingly rarely used) drivers really, really, really need to pay more attention and check over the shoulder once in awhile. Besides, a little stretching never hurt anyone.

Easy speedy. I'm not sure why, but if I'm going the speed limit or even a few miles over, there's always someone passing me. Why? In most cases, a driver speeds up only to meet a congestion of others that did the same thing. It's a vicious cycle and no one ever gets it. Also, why do I get the one-fingered wave when doing the speed limit? I've gotten all the speeding tickets I want, and if that's the price I pay for not wanting more, then bring it on.

While these are just a few of the simple things that often seem absent from the modern driver, there are many more to list and so little space. I could probably go on for hours about the absurdity of drivers ages 16 to 22-ish and their self-perceived perfection of thumping bass and excessive speeds through the C&S Market parking lot. Younger drivers have to learn from somebody. We should set the example.

Just as bad driving skills are learned, so are good ones. Perhaps if we all took time to care for our own bad habits, then good influence would rub off on others, or at least some.

If not, then I want my 1979 Ford Granada back. It was big, bulky and had some cheap insurance. At least it would work well should ribbons of highway turn into a Mad Max apocalypse.

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