Sunday, June 03, 2007

Be Careful Out There

A recent segment of Oprah dealt with two pretty tragic stories: families who had been left bereft of loved ones after mishaps involving automobiles. The one dealt with drunk driving and the other with a very unfortunate mishap. In short, a grandmother backed her vehicle over her grandson, crushing the life out of him. The circumstances were that a lot was going on with other children also involved, and she simply lost track of that one boy. She couldn't forgive herself, but this post isn't about that.

It's about the fact that I could have easily hit a couple of people when I was backing out of my own driveway just a few days ago. You know the deal. When you get into your vehicle the coast is clear. You check your mirror but see nothing, and you put the car in gear. Fortunately, a second check alerted me, but it could have been bad.

Me? When I'm out walking and see a car about to reverse out of a driveway, I always stop until I am assured that I have been seen. We speak of defensive driving, but we also need to practise defensive walking, for on that same Oprah show, they showed numerous children (was it 63?) sitting right behind a vehicle about to reverse. Every single, last one of them was in the blind spot!

Sure, in a perfect world, no driver would ever make a mistake, but errors do occur — frequently! Why would any pedestrian with a partial brain assume that the driver will always do the right thing? Don't most people drive at some time or other? Aren't they aware of the sighting difficulties and the fact that mistakes are made, and when they're made don't they know that cars are just a tad bigger than people and that it's the pedestrians who will be hurt?

This incident really got my goat, especially considering that one of the pedestrians was an adult and the other was at least old enough to be taught better. I simply don't understand. A little common sense and prudence goes a long way, and it doesn't cost more than a few seconds here and there to exercise a a modicum of care. Would someone really feel better when lying maimed in a hospital bed to know that it was the driver's fault? Well, it was ... but not entirely in this guy's humble little opinion.

So ... that's my little rant for the day.


Anonymous said...

Guess some would gain from a farm education. Growing up being told not to be in the blind spot of a bull or big horse lest I startle them puts me in good stead for vehicles.

Pam said...

It's so busy and rushed out there that everyone needs to be careful, always. As you said, once it's done, it's done for good.

Cathy said...

Rant on, AC! I've been in VERY similar situations and if I weren't so stunned at the STUPIDITY of the pedestrian - I'd have stepped out of my car and rattled their teeth.

I do EXACTLY what you do when I'm walking - even if I make eye-contact with the driver - I usually wave them on whilst I wait.

Pardon MY rant.

Turtle Guy said...

"A little common sense and prudence goes a long way"

...and it does, but thanks to our ever-so fair-is-fair-and-even-steven legal system, 'sense' is no longer considered 'common' and 'prudence'... well, according to whom?

I have a story I will email to you, I think it fitting.

Bonita said...

I was hit by a car while riding my bike, and my son was too. He was hit by a drunk driver. Rue was in a coma for a week, had a cracked hip and a serious head injury. These accidents leave life-long impressions, and some trauma. We simply have to be more vigilant...and nobody has the right to drink and drive, or use a cell phone while driving.

thailandchani said...

As someone who does a lot of walking, I'm with you! I always wait to be seen before passing in back of a car that appears to be backing out... or preparing to back out.



Heather Plett said...

My husband, the former truck driver, taught me (or more accurately - nagged me until I learned) to ALWAYS back into a parking spot. It's been wise advice, because you can always see better what's in front of you than behind you.

Dale said...

And a darn fine rant it was, sir. Here in Hogtown, pedestrians are often careless and sometimes, quite self-important.

Cate said...

I think the same way as you...I always make eye contact with drivers when I'm walking down the street, in parking lots, where ever. And it really ticks me off when people don't do the same when I am the driver!