Home > Life, That's Total BS! > What Could Possibly Be So Important??

What Could Possibly Be So Important??

Yeah, yeah, yeah…blah, blah, blah…. That’s what most people say when someone tells them what to do. And it’s not just teenagers, though we tend to think so.

Part of the privilege of being an adult  is being able to justify behaviors we tell our children not to do. After all, doesn’t adulthood mean we are competent or superior at everything?

I’m one of those adults sometimes — rebellious when confronted, careless when I think no one is watching, resentful of responsibility — and I’ve been given a gift through grace to learn a valuable lesson without having to suffer bodily injury. I had my comeuppance this past Saturday morning.

As I was returning home from a pet sitting run just before 9 a.m., I pulled up at an intersection behind a Chrysler 300 that had stopped at an odd angle, as though it had come from the opposite lane. I was just a mile from home and was looking forward to breakfast and quiet time with my little family.

The light turned green and the car in front jerked his wheel and started forward. Within 300 yards, he was 250 yards ahead of me as his car leaned around the sharp curve. A car in the other lane leaned away from him. I’ve seen people speed on our back country highway so I just shook my head. But as he came back into view, I saw him veer slowly into the other lane again, nearly clipping a car this time. He corrected and jerked back into his lane.

As I approached the entrance to my neighborhood, I made a decision to follow the car. I wanted to make sure that this mile of near misses was a fluke.

Two more miles of swerving and veering up the road, he stopped at the intersection with the main highway, well behind the car in front of him. I pulled up behind him. I took my camera phone and snapped a picture of the car and took down the number on the license plate that was propped in the back window. We pulled out onto the highway and since traffic was light, he took off like a shot. I chanced my own safety to keep up, though a safe distance behind.

“No, NO, NOO!! ” I shouted, and “There he goes!” as I watched him drive up over a curb and then violently pull back off it. He managed again to not wreck the car.

But he still kept doing whatever he was doing to distract himself from his #1 task — driving safely! He swerved back and forth across the 3 lane highway, nearly repeating the curb maneuver. When he turned up a smaller road I continued to follow him.

Bicyclists and pedestrians populated the bike path that ran along this road and I was not at all confident that he wouldn’t drive right up there and hit them. I said prayers under my breath. He turned onto a narrower road. By now, I think he knew I was following him.

Finally, he pulled into a gas station. I turned at the intersection and was able to get a front view of the car, with its bright green ’08 marked on the windshield. This was a grown man and possibly a car dealer.

I continued up the road to the Sheriff’s Dept.  but saw no signs of activity. I had no idea what to do.

Finally, I drove home, shaken as though I had almost been the victim of his dozen or more near misses. I had to do something.

At the suggestion of a friend, I called 911. They directed me to the Sheriff’s Dept. dispatcher who took down all the information I had collected. She asked whether I wanted to be contacted if anything happened or if I wanted to remain anonymous. I decided for some reason that the latter was safer.

Reporting this driver made me feel a little better. At least I had made someone aware to watch out for him. But in the end, I don’t think anything could be done until the police saw him driving this way or he finally hit another car. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t do anything more about it myself.

A friend shared with me the story of her parents nearly being killed by a distracted driver 4 years ago. Extreme bodily injury has since taken a back seat to post-traumatic emotional effects. The driver who hit them changed her story 3 times, trying to figure out which form of distraction would get her in the least trouble. Though there was a negligence settlement, the real damage could not be eradicated by any sum of money.

We’ve always been warned that drunk drivers were the ones to watch out for, but now impairment takes all forms, from the obscene number of bells & whistles that equip modern cars to the gateway habit of talking on cell phones that leads to the higher risk behavior of communicating via text message. The more we get away with without consequences, the greater the level of risk we are willing to attempt.

The following video PSA is extremely graphic, depicting the mindless actions of a distracted driver and the aftermath.  I had seen this before, but when I watched it again after the incident Saturday it held completely new meaning for me.

Please take heed, people. None of us — not experienced drivers nor responsible parents — can get away with driving distracted for long.

Be careful out there…. It’s only a matter of time…..

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  1. Anonymous
    July 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    As TB will confirm, I have so many questions for God that I’ve started keeping a list! But in this case, it seems clear that He (or She) was looking out for soooo many people on Saturday morning and, as far as we know, nothing bad happened to good people at the expense of the stupid! I have a 23 year old daughter who refuses to learn to drive. For that, I am grateful! So very glad you made it home rattled, but unharmed. I commend your bravery for following this idiot and collecting the information and giving it to authorities. You did everything you could! Pat yourself on the back and have a cocktail! Leahan

  2. July 19, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Thank you Ellen. You are spot-on. No text or phone call is worth my life, my dad’s or yours. xoxo

  3. July 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Good for you, Ellen! No matter how many public info commercials and videos though, the idiots that continue to drive drunk, or distracted on techno-wiz stuff, seem never to learn. A convenient, protective form of denial, I think.

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