For What It’s Worth

They have driver’s licenses?

Texting and driving are not the only requirement for lunatic driving. I figured that out Friday when my guardian angel had to put in some overtime to keep me safe while driving on city streets. Three times in one day drivers pulled low IQ maneuvers that endangered my auto, myself, and my wife, who, despite her skills as a front-seat, back-seat driver, was unable to keep us out of these near-miss (shouldn’t that be near-hit?) situations.

The first indication my guardian angel was on duty came at the intersection of Husband Street and Main Street/Boomer Road, whichever it is at that point. I was southbound on Husband and stopped at the traffic light. Of course, I was stopped. If you ever go through that intersection on Husband Street, you know the odds are infinitesimally close to 100 percent that you will encounter a red light and have to stop. I noticed that the traffic approaching from my left on Main/Boomer was starting to slow down. I took that to be a clue that the cross traffic now had a yellow light and I was about to get a green light. Glancing to the right at the oncoming traffic, I observed a white Mustang approaching, traveling at what appeared to the speed limit.

Intuition, instinct, common sense, anticipation of a comment from my wife, my guardian angel clicking on a link to my brain, or whatever the reason, a thought flashed into my brain: “He ain’t stoppin’! He’s goin’ through whether the light is yellow, green, red or purple.” Sure enough. Just as I saw the light turn green for me, I heard the engine of that Mustang rev and it surged forward as if the driver had kicked it into passing gear.

Had I been determined enough to go immediately on green, even my van would have had enough get up and go to have been in the intersection in time for a crash. At one point in time, I might have yelled a less-than-friendly road rage comment at the driver. Of course, if I had, it would have been useless since he could not have heard me above the roar of his car’s engine. Shaking a fist would have been a fruitless effort since the driver never looked my way. Instead, I made some remark about his idiotic driving and accepted my wife’s kind remark about how observant and careful I had been to see and anticipate a potentially dangerous situation.

Later in the day, apparently still accompanied by our guardian angel, we were driving north on Duck Street between 30 and 35 mph and approaching the Hall of Fame intersection. The driver in front of me, again in a white car, slid into the left-turn only lane, apparently planning to turn left onto Hall of Fame. That seemed to pose no danger and the signal light was green, so I continued straight ahead with no change of speed or lane.

Just as the white car reached the intersection and having slowed down a bit to be able to turn properly, the driver, for reasons only he knows, decided not to turn left. Instead, he gunned his motor, whipped back into my lane, and went straight ahead through the intersection. Carol gasped and sucked in enough air to create a mini-vacuum in the car. I yelped something to the effect, “What are you doing?,” and blew out some air to replace that which Carol had sucked away.

We looked at each other with the thought creeping into our minds that maybe we weren’t supposed to be on the road that day. Nonetheless, we would venture out that evening, only to encounter another driver with a questionable driving IQ.

Sometime after 7 p.m., we left the house with plans to attend Walkaround at OSU. Our goal was to seek a parking place in the lot by the Journalism Building and the Student Union. Driving west on University Avenue, the car in front of us switched to the left-turn-only lane. Maybe that should have triggered an alert based on our experience earlier in the day. Apparently, the driver was undecided because she almost immediately signaled a right turn back into our lane. Once there, perhaps wanting to exercise her woman’s prerogative to change her mind, she flipped on her flasher, signaling a desire to return to the left-turn-only lane. I’m not sure, but I think I mumbled, “Make up your mind, lady.”

Unfortunately, she couldn’t slide back into the lane until there was sufficient clearance between her car and one already in the left-turn lane. So, we’re all moving ahead and closing in on the intersection where I need to turn right and she, at least for the moment, wants to turn left, but can’t yet. Adding to the need for action is that University Avenue was closed to straight-through traffic just beyond the intersection, and a police car parked sideways with lights flashing emphasized that we must turn.

I don’t know what the woman was thinking, if anything; but, instead of just slowing down slightly so that the car to her left could move ahead far enough for her to slip into the left-turn lane, she maintained the same speed, thus keeping her abreast of the car’s bumper and prohibiting her from moving left. She may have thought my car was going to rear-end her, but she finally realized I had slowed down and she had ample room to ease up and then move into her desired lane. She accomplished the maneuver just in time to turn left at the intersection.

In pondering these moments, I had a scary thought—these people could be reproducing themselves.

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2 Responses to For What It’s Worth

  1. Hubert Edgar says:

    Maybe while they were driving…

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