Today I was in a car accident. I’m lucky to be alive. Let me explain to you why driver hesitation almost killed me, and why proper driver training, confidence (and perhaps a bit of patience) could save your life.
First things first, I wasn’t driving. No, that regrettable honour goes to my (now shook up) girlfriend. She was driving me to my first day of work as an Executive Recruiter. She needed the car today to also go to her job.
Neither of us will work today, but needless to say, I consider myself very lucky to have a woman who will get up at 7am to drive me to my new job. Along the way, she went to change lanes, and rear ended a Mercedes. For some strange reason, that comes off as being more casual than it really was.
In fact, it was downright shocking.
You see, she hit the Mercedes at 50km/h. She didn’t brake at the last minute. She just plowed into it. Why? Because in the right lane, where she was aiming to go, came another driver, going the actual speed limit, of 60km/h. My girlfriend wanted to change lanes cause her lane was slow and backed up. But she was too scared of the other car barreling down in the right hand lane, and was too busy looking in her mirrors, contemplating the lane change, to actually make it. Thus, she hit the GLK (which was stopped for backed up traffic ahead of it) with enough force to push its exhaust forward ahead of the rear wheels, and for it to rear end another car in front.
This could have been avoided. All that was needed was for her to slow down to a crawl, and wait for the guy in the other lane to pass. Or, she could have done what we’ve all been taught to do, and accelerate to merge. The accident could have been avoided. It should have been avoided.
But it wasn’t.
Now her and I have whiplash, we smell of airbag fumes, our car (valued at over $30,000, with an MSRP new of almost $50,000) is totalled, her insurance has skyrocketed, she’s got a careless driving ticket with 6 points valued at $600, and worst of all, our work day and the days of others have been inconvenienced. All of this could happen to anyone who lacks the confidence to make decisive maneuvers behind the wheel, or is unsure of what to do. Sadly however, this is a raging example of the majority of the populations disposition when it comes to driving in general.
We live in a world where $100 and a 15 question test will give humans that actually matter to other people (and to the world around them) made of flesh and bones and soul, the opportunity to pilot 2 ton metal boxes capable of 200km/h amongst other people just as uneducated and unprepared as they are.
Proper education and precaution needs to take place for all drivers to understand the risks involved in driving, and one of the most important factors of driving is patience, and the confidence to make maneuvers when you feel you are safe to do so. She had ample time to accelerate into the next lane and merge. She also could have braked and waited. Sadly, she chose neither... And that’s where she was at fault. Her indecisiveness is a classic textbook example of modern driver training, and only you can make the changes necessary to better yourself, and everyone else behind the wheel.
Thankfully, she’s okay. I’m okay. Everyone else was okay. Immediately after the airbag deployed, I leapt out of the car to go get everyone else out of their cars, who were all in complete shock. For me, accidents are an inevitability.
They shouldn’t be.
Drive safely folks.