Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Moron Files - Idiot behind the wheel

I've been driving for a long time. In all that time, I've never been in an accident. Also haven't gotten any tickets. I am, shall we say, mellow behind the wheel. I don't speed. Much. I don't skip from lane to lane. I'm not under the belief that mashing the gas pedal gets you there any faster. I take the whole stewardship behind the wheel thing pretty seriously. Yeah, I'm a Boy Scout. So sue me.

When I was 14, I was a passenger in a car involved in a major accident on a Montreal highway. The driver (no, I won't out this person here) was busy lighting a cigarette and fiddling with the radio and didn't notice the overpass or the black ice underneath it. The outcome: slammed brakes on ice, lost control at 110 km/h, two concrete walls, no more car. Miraculously, we walked away from what was left of the vehicle. The cop couldn't believe we only suffered cuts and bruises. From that moment forward, I suppose my attitude toward driving and endless respect for the laws of physics were both cast in stone. I also became much more picky about who I'd drive with.

So you can imagine my surprise yesterday afternoon when I was on my way to pick the munchkins up from school. Turning left onto the main road that cuts through our subdivision, I noticed a flash of white coming at me from the right and immediately felt just like I did when I was 14 - I'm cooked. A white first-generation Acura TSX (sorry, I'm retentive) was thundering toward the side of my van, its driver clearly impervious to the fact that she had a red light and was about to pancake my van. And me, presumably.

I slammed the brakes and grabbed the wheel left as violently as I could, and could feel the pressure wave of the speeding car as it blasted past me. I may have sworn in the process. Okay, I did swear. I admit I felt a pretty intense wave of anger as I confirmed that I was still in one piece and took off after her to at least let her know I was a little displeased with her behavior. My bad, I guess.

I caught up with her at the next red and she looked over at me like nothing had happened. I watched her turn into a shopping mall and, while it might have been fun to box her in and read her the riot act, road rage isn't in my DNA. I continued on to school, then called my wife when I got there just to hear a friendly voice. My hands were still shaking.

Road rage may not be my thing, but blog rage certainly is. The doof's Ontario license # is ARAE 171. And if I see her again, I'd be happy to share my story of how, through her complete lack of caring about those around her, she almost changed my and my family's life forever. I hope the tube of lipstick that she was rushing to get at the Shoppers Drug Mart was worth it.

Your turn: Have you had a close call at the hands of an idiot? What's the solution to morons behind the wheel?

One more thing: I know this has nothing to do with winter. But if you feel so inclined, head over here for something a little happier.

27 comments:

Hilary said...

Ack, Carmi. I'm so glad you were able to avert a collision. I don't understand how she can be oblivious to nearly ramming you though. Or was she just playing dumb when you caught up to her? In any event, I'm glad you're safe.

photowannabe said...

Whew Carmi, I'm glad you are ok. She probably wouldn't have believed you if you had confronted her. You probably would have been cited for verbal abuse or something like that.
Be thankful for your guardian angel standing between you and that crazy woman's car.

Sleepypete said...

I reckon what you have done, in maintaining cool until having the chance to vent it where it ain't gonna cause dents, shows far more strength than allowing the road rage out would have done :-)

I've been involved with 2 accidents, both minor (both other person's fault!) but the time I've come closest to being killed was going home from work. I'd stopped at lights, was pretty chilled out waiting for green. I was a bit slow moving off, which was a "very good thing"(tm).

If I'd started going at amber->green and at my usual efficiency, then a mid-sized 4by4 would have inserted its bull bars just above my right ear, after jumping its red light by quite some time and going fast enough to physically shake my car.

I happily got trained out of (most of!) my Speed Demon by my second car - seemed like every time I rushed back to uni at an 85 cruise instead of 70, something would break ! So to save cash, I drove slower. And like not trusting self-cancelling indicators, the habit's still there.

Not letting the Road Rage Demon out is by far the most mature way to deal with morons like these - kudos to Carmi ! :-)

PS I have an icicle pic hidden away somewhere that may well be coming out to play for Winter ...

srp said...

Sometimes the Morons make me wish we all had those little paint guns... just zap the Morons with that after the dumb moves... then the police can deal with those who have the most paint spots on the rear end.

kenju said...

Carmi, I am sure that everyone will be happy to learn that you were not hit - even though it may have seemed inevitable. I have been in 3 wrecks (in about 53 years of driving) and I've gotten 3 tickets. More than once I have almost been hit by a speeding car running a red light, and each time it literally scares the heck out of me. I was not quick enough to get the plate #, but since you have, I'd find out to whom the plate belongs and write her a letter about what she almost caused. Let her know that you have a wonderful wife and 3 lovely children and that she could have made a widow and 3 fatherless kids, through her inattention and speed. Maybe it will keep her from doing the same thing again.

ciara said...

ugh! i have problem w some drivers in general. i, too, started driving more carefully after an accident that was not my fault. some moron decided to make a left turn 10 ft in front of me on a 45mph road. he had no ins and he was driving on a suspended driver's license. i was pissed when i looked up & seen him gone. turns out he went into the apt complex he was trying to get into. i was all banged up w sprained ankle and contusions. i wanted to beat him down though! lol if you're interested you can read some of my prob w drivers at http://www.dad-blogs.com
under Ciara: One mom's rants lol

Mojo said...

Oh have I ever been there. I'm sure if I thought about it for 5 minutes I could come up with a half dozen stories just like this, but not so much recently.

I'm just glad that you and your precious cargo were spared any damage. But I know the feeling of wanting to blow out the eardrums of motoris moronicus.

Here's a couple of something's a bit happier for ya. first off, installment 2 of 7 in my "Winter" ensemble.

Second and far far happier, is this story from Robin's blog Around The Island. It's really her story to tell, so I'll let her tell it.

And third, Maggie Dammit was just interviewed yesterday on BlogTalk Radio about her new blog Violence UnSilenced which has taken the 'sphere by storm. And I for one couldn't be happier to see it.

(Sorry about all the out links, but it's all news, ya know?)

On balance, it's been a really good day in the world. And I'm glad you and the Carmette's are whole and healthy to see it.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Oh, I have been bicycling and hit by cars twice, and hit by a car whilst walking. Clueless drivers all, and I am ultra-careful pedestrian now. Once a mobster wannabe buzzed my toes at a Chicago crosswalk and I gave him the finger and he stopped the car in the intersection and screamed 'do you know who I am?' and I said 'no, but you almost ran over me' and he was like 'OH, well, OK then'. I guess he could see my logic, but he thought I was flipping him off for some other reason...

Barb said...

Carmi, first, thank God you are OK. Second, congrats on a great driving record! Third, what is it with these ID10Ts? (that's how we saw idiot spelled on a license plate). I just drove 2500 miles to the east coast and back, generally 5-7 miles above the speed limit, and still was passed like I was standing still, cut off by maniac lane-changers, and shoved out of my lane by a semi-driver --- that one really got to me since I am married to one! I, too, have no accidents or tickets and the fear of road rage keeps me from practicing it myself (other than blasting the horn), but I know the feeling of wanting to box them in, and box their ears! I like your solution to post the license #. I personally haven't googled it yet, but somebody will!

Again, I'm glad you are safe.

bobbie said...

I've been very lucky - so far. I was run off the road once. In fact I'll be blogging it next Wed. as part of my series on my Misadventures on the Road. But wasn't hurt.

But I've seen a number of accidents. There is nothing so bone chilling as watching an accident you know is about to happen and not being able to stop it. I sat at a red light and watched as a small truck started into the intersection while a small car came barreling towards it, oblivious to the light. All I could do was call 911 as the crash happened.

jill said...

so thankful that you were able to avoid her.

Mama C said...

Oh my, I am so glad that you were not hurt. I'd be shaking for days if that were me.

Pinky said...

I'm thankful that you're alright, Carmi. G-d has more days for you to experience on earth.

Here's my little story. I didn't have as much grace as you did. :-)
The dude turned left in front of me, out of a 'go straight only' lane. He forced me into a 360 degree spin, and my car stalled in the middle of the intersection. I hit my head on the window, spilled my water and purse, and was terrified. He drove off...but I watched him. I wrote down his license plate number, went into the store that he was in, had him paged overhead by his plate number, and when he came to the front...I proceeded to lecture him in front of the small crowd that I had intentionally gathered around me to witness his public humiliation.

Oh boy. Not my best moment. HOwever, I did remind him that I could be his: mother, sister, wife, or daughter. As a society, we are called upon to act better than this. He humbly apologized and skulked off.

ChefBliss.com said...

OMG, just yesterday I was driving downtown and going through a green light, when out of nowhere this man in a Prius just pulled out from the left (ok, it was a one way street, I'll give him that) and pulled right out in what would have been ME if I had not moved very very very very quickly. He seemed to have no concept. I on the other hand was fully aware of what a moron he was. You have my sympathy!

kcinnova said...

hooo, boy! I now understand your very strong comment to my last "busted" entry. And I'm so glad you are safe.
It's a scary world out there on the road. My one and only speeding ticket (they've got big long roads down in Texas) taught me a big long lesson. I'm accident free and working to stay that way.

Mar said...

I am so glad nobody was injured, Carmi, and I fully understand your rage...
"Don't drive any faster than what your guardian angel can fly". Or something like that, it's a bumper sticker I saw a long while ago but always remember.
Have a nice weekend with your family.

lovelyprism said...

Ugh. I live in a small town in Georgia that has the highest insurance rates and highest accident rate in the state. I have totaled two cars since I got here and my husband, who HAD a perfect driving record has been in three accidents. My lil daughter got in her first fender bender just a few weeks ago. It's just a nightmare to be constantly worried about your loved ones driving when you KNOW they're good drivers, but everyone else on the road scares the bejeebers out of you. Good job on the defensive driving skills, Carmi!

jinksy said...

Am I glad I've never been a driver! Glad all was well, at least this time...

Protege said...

Road rage exists everywhere. It is a strange phenomenon, as it turns ordinary, nice and calm people into aggressive killer beasts.

I have heard once that it comes from the fact that people feel invincible, at times almost detached from the world, when they are in their cars. They are in charge. This is obviously an illusion, as they are forced to play by the rules, which aggravates and infuriates some.
Furthermore, driving a vehicle can be compared to handling a weapon; it can be used to hurt others. I know that I become very anxious, when I feel pushed and provoked in traffic, as I feel threathened and feel my life is in danger.
And fear creates anger and aggression.

I think a combination of the above is the biggest problem and contributing factor to accidents.

I am sorry about your bad experiences on the road; in the past and recently. And I completely understand your reactions - I am glad that you and your family are safe, despite a close call.

Linda said...

I've had way too many "idiot" moments. My most recent was last month. My husband and I and the kids were headed to Charleston to sign our life away (also known as signing for a mortgage, lol). We were in the left lane, passing cars. A pickup truck behind us decided we weren't moving fast enough for him, so he cut right to pass us. Unfortunately, he didn't judge the traffic well and got stuck behind a large semi-truck (that we were PASSING, of course). So, as soon as we were past the truck, my husband signaled right and moved over. The guy in the pickup truck sped up and tried to side-swipe us! As he was siding and passing us, he flipped us off. It was disgusting to see a man, likely in his 60's with that much rage and attitude. It's also hard to explain to young kids what he was doing. (my explanation of "flipping the bird" is that he was ignorant and KNEW what he did was wrong, so he tried to make himself feel better by doing that - lame, I know). My husband sped up to get the man's plate number. By this time the man was flying....close to 100 mph, weaving in and out of traffic in order to avoid us. We got his plate number and reported him by calling 911. This is almost always what I do when things like this happen. I also make note of make/model of car, and location (finding mile markers, billboards, direction of travel, etc).

While it may not always resolve the problem, it does put the offender on notice that they MIGHT get caught.

barbie2be said...

carmi, i am so glad you had the skill and the presence of mind to avoid the accident and are ok.

just this morning on my way to work there was a car in the lane next to me that kept tailgating the car in front of her. so close that there was no way a person could have squeezed through. it made me so nervous that i actually slowed down to give them more room.

Jennie said...

Glad you avoided that! Oh, that is very angering, isn't it? I was all set for your big confrontation and you went and took the higher road, you boy scout. ;) I love how you posted her number, that's rich. Thanks for stopping by, I miss you and the others from Michele's too, must drop in more often.

carli said...

Carmi, I'm glad your story had a happy ending. Had this been me, you can bet I would have followed that woman into the parking lot and at the very least waited for her to go inside before leaving a very nasty note on her car.

As a full-time pedestrian, it drives me crazy how careless people are. On a daily basis, I deal with people who think turn signals are optional, think "stop" means "touch the brake a little with your pinky toe," believe they can drive safely whilst speaking on the phone (news flash, people: I watch you, and you can't) and just generally don't realize they are in control of a very heavy, very powerful machine that can change a life for the worse in a split second. A friend of mine in town was hit by a car last year. He went through months of agony and will always be in some amount of pain. The driver paid a fine and settled with his victim. No doubt his insurance premiums will rise--a small price to pay for causing irreversible damage to a total stranger.

Yeah, you kind of struck a nerve there, Carm.

Anonymous said...

When the undead have a craving for brains, and are headed to
Zombies-N-Things, git outta the way!!

Driving ! Zombies love driving !

Richard Petty

Mel Fraase said...

Wow, glad it was a miss!
Yes, I totalled our van last winter. Both a winter AND a bad driver story. I drive quite a bit of state highway to get to our tiny little town. There are many little hills and as I came over one I was right behind a pickup moving about 15mph on a 65mph road. I tried to steer around them but it was too late and I slammed into the back half of them. The van crumpled up and suddenly all I could see was my own hood. No one was seriously hurt, including the two young guys who were apparently "road hunting"(scouting stuff to shoot from their car). My oldest had her first ambulance ride thanks to those dopes. Sadly it was supposedly my fault as I hit them from behind. Grrr...

g said...

Lucky you averted the collision.

I admit, I was an idiot myself once, almost the first week after I had my drivers' license - I went through an intersection and hit someone. In my defense, the Yield sign was obscured by foliage. And I was too new to driving to have my driving "spidey-sense". I ended up paying for my mistake.

I also had a similar accident, where someone ran a red light and hit me. What frightened me was that they hit the back end of my car and I spun around and landed in a busy cross-walk. I didn't see it coming at all. Thank God no pedestrians were hurt.

But that's it. Where I live, driveways and dirt roads are treacherous enough to cause dings to bumpers and cars, but never scarey accidents.

Anonymous said...

Glad you where paying attention Carmi!

Speeders don't bother me (I am one), but people who ignore the basic road rules (Stop signs. Signaling. Right of Way. Politeness...) irritate me to no end. As do the people oblivious to what is going on around them.
I'm on the road nearly everyday for work and see my share of superb London driving, I've been tempted often to start uploading photos of plates (and hopefully faces) just for stress releif and to a degree, a faint hope that if the perpetrator finds themselves online a bit of shame. Asking them to change their habits might be a bit too much to hope for. [I usually have a small digital camera for catching stuff off-hand. No worries, I don't look at the viewfinder. Wide angle + lots of megapixels + multiframes = a 99% capture rate]

Will the LPD take driving complaints? Worth a try since you have a plate and can positively ID the driver.

Alex.