Avoided Disaster

We live in a college town and I always dread the return of the students in the fall. I have nothing against students except that they cause 70 percent of accidents in our community.

I was on my way to town yesterday when a gigantic SUV decided to move to my lane without checking her blind spot. I jumped the curb just to avoid a major disaster. I was shaking from fear, relief and anger rolled into one. I know she was aware of the situation because she swerved to avoid me. We were inches away from a major wreck. I caught up with her at the light and saw her talking on the phone. The light was red and so I was able to look her in the eye and mouthed 'PUT AWAY YOUR PHONE!" She looked at me with the expression of “What’s all the fuss? Nothing happened.” and continued yacking away on her phone. I was so frustrated that I cried and had to stop to calm down

What will it take for drivers to realize that you are courting disaster when multi-tasking while driving? The thought of my near disaster yesterday made me realize this danger.

The sad thing about this is that we fall victims to this bad practice because of other drivers bad choices.

I don’t have an answer for the cellphone problem, unfortunately.
Even though fines have been increased, it still seems that about 70% of the female drivers in my area have a cellphone clamped to their ear at all times while driving. (Men seem to be a little less prone to this type of multi-tasking)

However, I do have at least a partial solution to the situation which you experienced yesterday.
In a Defensive Driving class, they teach you to avoid being in somebody’s blind spot for more than…possibly…a few seconds. If you are riding in somebody’s blind spot, either slow down a bit or pass them, in order to get out of that blind spot. (Yes, passing on the right IS legal, on a multi-lane road!)

There will always be drivers who pull bone-headed maneuvers, and in order to prevent them from causing harm to you, your passengers, and your car, you must learn to drive defensively at all times.

Unless it is unavoidable (such as in heavy traffic), do not allow yourself to remain in another vehicle’s blind spot!

Its almost always someone in an SUV. Always.

Many people who drive Suvs only care about themselves and it manifests itself thru their driving habits.

I would have let her hit you. Did you damage your car? I feel for you, I feel drivers in the past 15 years have gotten much worse.

More than a few times, I’ve been in various department or grocery stores and watched oblivious people who were so focused on chatting on the phone or texting that they would walk right into others or displays. It doesn’t seem to phase them at all. Shrug, and move on without letup.

One evening while in the grocery store, I saw 2 young ladies (early 20s approx.) walking down the aisle towards me; side by side and both texting. Per the usual, I moved the cart to the right and stopped just to see what would happen.
Sure enough, the one closest to me walked right into the cart. At that point I somewhat rudely said excuse me. She just briefly nodded and moved on down the row like nothing had happened. The woman with her was not even aware that her friend had walked into the cart.

Soon, they would be in traffic doing the same thing. Morons.

I got a Goodwill camera for $7, with optical zoom, 6Mpix. I’m gonna to mount camera’s on my scooter and 2 autos. The one on the scooter is may make spouse rich.

Had about the same happen, though I believe the woman would of had more damage than my truck. She deiceded to change lanes because of a mail truck that was parked in the street, with out checking other lane (one way road) or using signals. I gave her a loud honk and she didn’t even check.

Idiotic driving is something we all have to deal with at one point or an other and sometimes we ourselves accidentally do it and (hopefully) learn from the mistake, especially when young and hopefully with no damage.

I think the old Burma Shave sign is particularly appropriate today with all these drivers using cell phones. The sign read: “The safest rule, no ifs or buts, is drive like everyone else is nuts”.
I know that I am a geezer, but I don’t see the need to be in constant communication with someone else. Hallways at universities are very dangerous between classes. It seems that almost every student has to call someone and walk along talking on the cellphone completely oblivious to anything or anyone around them.

@Triedaq I personally liked the one; “Drunken drivers, Nothing worse, They put the quart before the hearse!”

Yes VDC, true but you can also make a citizens arrest if one had a mind to. Follow them, Call the Man and the man will come and give them a notice to appear (ticket )where you can show up and testify against them. If you have an accident with a phone gabber and can prove they were on the phone at the “time”, its automatically there fault. They might think twice next time!

@R2Ditto. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER drive onto the sidewalk to avoid someone changing lanes into you. Hit 'em. It is MUCH better to have even an SUV clip your corner moving at similar speeds while encased in steel than to 1) hit a hard stationary object that will HURT (a lot!) or 2) you run over a pedestrian(s) on the sidewalk.

It is FAR safer to allow the other car to hit yours and then the girl on the phone gets to pay for your car and her ticket rather than driving away unscathed.

Also…@VDCDriver is right. Stay out of blindspots, they are called that for a reason!

“you can also make a citizens arrest if one had a mind to”

Go right ahead, if you wish.
I, on the other hand, have no desire to do this.

In an era where we see more and more cases of people taking out their aggressions on others with a loaded gun…I will not attempt to make a Citizen’s Arrest.

Even if I am totally “in the right” to try to stop someone and perform a Citizen’s Arrest, the possibility of having a few rounds pumped into my body convinces me to let the police handle these situations directly. Yes, more offenders will escape a penalty this way, but–potentially–more innocent people will wind up without bullets being fired at them by unpredictable strangers who may be armed–and who may be under the influence of a mind-altering substance.

One of the many reasons why I pay my taxes is so that the police can handle these tasks, rather than me.

I once saw a young college student roll her SUV all on her own, with no external cause. I was behind her, so I don’t know what her distraction was, but she was clearly distracted.

She was driving a Jeep Patriot in the left lane of a 40 MPH road near the university where I worked. I noticed her left wheels crossed onto the grass median. That must have woken her up, because she over-corrected to the right, over-corrected to the left, and when she tried to over-correct to the right again, she put the Jeep into a roll. When the Jeep came to a rest on its wheels on the grass median, she panicked. She started punching the glass on the driver’s door, climbed out of the window, and fell to the ground crying. She was shaking all over. By that time someone else had pulled over to help her, and considering my attitude that the whole thing was her own darn fault, I thought it best that I should keep driving to work.

@Mustangman wrote: “NEVER, NEVER, NEVER drive onto the sidewalk to avoid someone changing lanes into you”

…or drive into an embankment or a tree.
I’ve known three people (one seriously injured) who totaled their car avoiding what would have been a gentle bump by someone carelessly changing lanes.

@Whitey wrote : “she over-corrected to the right, over-corrected to the left, and when she tried to over-correct to the right again, she put the Jeep into a roll”

Every year or two I read about teenagers killed in my area in just this way.

I’ve been talking to my daughter about over-correcting as she gradually learns to drive.
This is going to be pretty hard to teach as practicing such a maneuver puts us immediately at risk of doing just that ! ( 08 long Expedition or 06 Escape hybrid )

So I keep telling her to practice in her mind, that there is the only place that will work WHEN the time comes to ‘’ don’t swerve !’’

I’ve shown her with me driving… but nothing will put it deep in the gut reaction except constantly reminding herself.
With our little practice sessions on a back road to her friend’s house, she’s asked when she might need to know this … and her eyes got saucer huge when I ran off a long list…especially on that back road with horses , dogs, no shoulder, pot holes, and a dozen zig zags.
Even a flat tire , I told her, is going to yank this truck over where you don’t want to go.
grab that steering wheel with both hands and both elbows anchored and MAKE it go in a gradual line back to the roadway. It WILL argue with you, but YOU make it go in the direction you want.
IF you swerve over…DON’T swerve back ! ( I showed her by driving off the pavement into the dirt. DRIVE in the dirt for a bit as you aim a line that goes back to the pavement. Plus I told her " you know there’s horses here, you know that. Drive like there’s a horse around the next corner, not an indy car style slolom, although fun on this road, when there is a horse just slow down and wait, they’re smarter than cows or deer. )

But training the subconcious to react in that manner is probably the hardest part of learning to drive and far too many people have not.

( learning to fly drove that point home as that was the learning method…emergency procedures first and foremost and constantly reviewed.

Yeah, I think skid school might be the only place where student drivers get a chance to practice this kind of thing. There is an old abandoned runway in north Jacksonville, FL where you can practice this kind of thing, but such areas are rare.

For those of you in the northeast Florida or southeast Georgia areas, if you want to find this old runway, you take I-95 to the Busch Drive exit (#360) and go east until Busch Drive starts to curve south. Turn left on Yeager Road. The Google Map coordinates are 30.43071,-81.632625.

Rather than practicing with an SUV, I recommend practicing with a large sedan. My crash course in not over-correcting came while driving my mother’s Ford Taurus station wagon on I-295 in Jacksonville. Luckily, I regained control before actually crashing. I think reducing speed gently was the biggest factor in regaining control.

I think the most important 2 words you can teach your student driver are, “Keep Going”. There are so many accidents that could be made far less dangerous if the driver would just keep going, drive through the problem. Like @kengreen said, you find yourself drifting into the center divide; keep going and slow down gently. A largo cooler bounces out of a truck in front of you on the highway; keep going and if you hit it, you hit it. Keep going then slow down and pull over safely. Same with a dog that runs in front of you. Someone drifts into you and bangs into your car; keep going. A tire blows out; keep going straight on and hold on. It seems like to first response o an untrained driver is to yank on the wheel and hit the brakes. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

There are a lot of programs to teach teen drivers to control their cars in emergencies. Look to your local Sports Car Club of America, BMW club and others that offer free teen driver schools. Mid-Ohio race track in Lexington Ohio has such a course. Worth the time to find one. They all have places to practice these skills and teach the kids the limits of the vehicle they drive.

@VDCdriver even without the gun issue, I’m loathe to consider making a citizen’s arrest unless it’s for something significant. Like murder. Even if they don’t shoot you, they might well sue you, and even if you don’t lose the lawsuit, you still have to pay a lot of money to a lawyer to defend you.

@shadowfax–You make an excellent point!
If actual police officers and their department are subject to lawsuits related to arrests, I would assume that citizens attempting to play police officer are subject to the same problems.