Drive Like Everyone Is Out to Get You

The other day, I passed a crash in my neighborhood that was clogging traffic. Some guy in a company truck had run a red light and smashed into a school bus loaded with 37 kids. Several children went to the hospital. Luckily, none of them were seriously injured. A slew of reporters were scattered throughout the area, interviewing parents, children, and police officers. Dozens of other onlookers thronged the intersection to gawk at this festival of misery.

Then, as I drove into my townhome complex just a few blocks south, I encountered yet another accident, this one on my property. An elderly woman had come flying up a hill at high speed and broadsided a car driven by a 17-year-old woman, who was trapped in her seat and severely injured. A group of emergency responders had to use the jaws of life to pry the door off. It took quite a while. The young woman screamed in pain every time they inched her onto the stretcher. My guess is that she’s going to suffer physical problems for the rest of her life as a result of that violent collision. Here’s what her car looked like from the driver’s side.

My main purpose here isn’t to make a public service announcement although sharing graphic information on dangerous driving never hurts. I just want to make an observation. The truth is that a horde of lazy, arrogant, careless people who have no business owning a driver’s licence will continue to imperil others no matter what anyone says or does. Every day, I see them shooting straight through stop signs, texting or talking on their cell phones while swerving down the road or speeding out of alleyways, and impeding the right of way for emergency vehicles because they have their music cranked up so loud they can’t hear anything else.

None of this will ever change. Humans are untamed animals, despite the efforts of countless religions and governments to control the species. Imagine being able to read people’s minds. What a curse that would be. Think of all the troubling noise a mind-reader would have to endure every waking second of every day. No thanks. But then put these turbulent minds into a fleet of two- to four-ton weapons laden with so many seductive features that the drivers feel like ensconced feudal lords separated from the rest of a perilous world that lies on the other side of their windshields, and you know terrible, tragic things are going to happen over and over and over again. Maybe the best thing to do is drive like everyone is out to get you. In a way, they are without even realizing it.