Two seconds was just enough time to avoid being killed on a Virginia road this past weekend. I was towing my boat to the lake for the maiden voyage, the weather was warm, sunny, and beautiful. Towing a boat trailer can be a little nerve-wracking on narrow country roads. You are trying to keep the right […]
Two seconds was just enough time to avoid being killed on a Virginia road this past weekend. I was towing my boat to the lake for the maiden voyage, the weather was warm, sunny, and beautiful.
Towing a boat trailer can be a little nerve-wracking on narrow country roads. You are trying to keep the right wheel out of the ditch and left wheel on your side of the yellow line and out of the way of oncoming traffic.
I was taking my time and was driving just under the speed limit when a car blew through the stop sign right in front of me. It happened so fast I didn’t have time to hit my brakes and the car had already crossed the intersection. The driver then slammed on brakes, realizing what they had just done.
The car was travelling about 50 miles per hour and would have totaled my pick up and boat if we had collided. I might have survived since it was a four wheel drive truck, but my body would have taken a beating. If they had struck a small car or motorcycle, chances of survival would have been slim.
I wasn’t mad as I continued driving, but simply thankful for divine intervention, my slow driving and my good luck. But what I thought of, and what you might be also wondering, was why this driver was so distracted that they failed to stop at the stop sign. What this driver was doing happens around us every day we drive and most of us are guilty of it. This driver was talking on the cell phone, and was so distracted it, they nearly caused a major accident.
How many times have you been talking on the cell phone and at the end of the conversation can’t even remember the last ten miles that you drove? Studies show that cell phone use while driving is comparable to driving under the influence of alcohol. In some studies the cell phone user actually performs worse than the alcohol inhibited driver. Simply Google “cell phone driver studies” and you can read all day about the various findings of independent researchers.
So as I drove further down the road I thought of seeing this driver with the phone to their ear, I counted my blessings for driving a little slower that day.
The story doesn’t end there. I drove another couple miles and a passing truck dropped a rock, which bounced up and struck my windshield. At this point, I was wondering what was going to happen on my boat’s maiden voyage.
The day did get better, as my new boat ran well, most of the electronics worked properly, there was little traffic on the lake and it was a pretty day. With my good fortune, my ERIE Insurance provides free windshield repair, so that is scheduled for this week, and I remain thankful for a day in which I returned home safely.
Less than 24 hours earlier, I had just completed a young drivers’ meeting with two teenagers and their parents. In my meetings we discuss driving distractions and spend time talking about cell phone use. We talk about not texting while driving and the value of good judgment on decision making. Both good and bad decisions have lasting impacts on our lives and our quality of life. We also review photos of vehicle accidents, discussing what may have caused them, what injuries the occupants probably received, and how they may have been avoided. We talk about anatomy and physiology, and what happens to the amazingly resilient human body in a vehicle accident. These talks help them to think beyond themselves and today. Instead we focus on others and the future.
I enjoy my time spent with young drivers and their parents because I believe in making a difference. My 32 years as a firefighter/paramedic, along with my insurance background, allows me to share information and real stories about real life experiences. If I don’t share it, my life experiences will simply be my own and of little value. Instead, I share it with the hope of influencing the judgment and good decision making of the next generation.
Should you have a young driver or group of young drivers, consider using your insurance agent to influence their decision making and driving habits. Feel free to contact me if your agent doesn’t provide this service.