life in and around NYC is insane

Sunday, December 7, 2014

He's lucky to be alive

When I first got my driver's license, back in the dark ages, someone told me "Drive like everyone else on the road is an idiot...because most of them are."

The point was well made. I remember an incident, shortly after I got my license, that clearly illustrated the concept. It was 1977, I was 17, and driving my mother's Buick Electra -- that was a huge car. My mother sent me to the supermarket, and what happened on the way back ...

There was a long stretch of road with no businesses, and no side streets. Just an old dairy farm to the left (it's a gated community now) and some houses on the right, but set back far from the road and concealed by trees. You really felt alone driving on that road, unless there were other cars around (these days there are always other cars, but back then, not so much...)

Well, I must have done something to offend another driver, maybe I cut him off as I came out of the parking lot, because he made it his business to get in front of me as I started down the lonely stretch of road. Then he slammed on his brakes. He drove for a few seconds, then slammed on the brakes again. And again. And again. He wouldn't let me pass him. I had no place to turn off the road, and I was terrified what he might do if I stopped my car. And cell phones hadn't been invented yet.

And the worst of it? He had two young children in the car. He must have been talking about what he was doing, because in that pre-car seat world, both kids were on their knees looking out the back window. Had I lost control of my car, those kids would have been dead.

I was thinking about that long-ago incident recently, because two things happened last weekend that reaffirms the theory. In fact, it applies to pedestrians as well.

The first happened in my neighborhood. Busy road, one lane in either direction, goes past the high school and the public library, but is mostly residential. I had just left the library, and was driving along, when I noticed a landscaper's truck and equipment trailer on the shoulder to my right. To my left was one of the landscaper's employees, standing in the roadway, in the lane for oncoming traffic, leaf blower at full blast, leaves swirling everywhere.

This scenario had barely registered when another employee stepped out from behind the trailer right in front of my car!

As much as I moaned and groaned about the cost of getting my brakes fixed last month, I'm glad I had the work done. The landscaper's employee owes his life to the Sears Auto Shop.

But the one that made me wince ...

Busy road, one lane in either direction, no shoulder. A car broke down in the road. Rather than call a tow truck, idiot tries to fix the car himself ... by crawling underneath it. On the road. During rush hour.

I called 911 because I didn't want to read about the idiot's death in our local paper.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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