Close call

©2023 michael raven

I had an experience this evening that made me want to seriously (and I mean seriously) just give up driving altogether. If I was less practical, I would have come home and just shred that license after walking through the door and never looked back.

And I’m still tempted.

In Minnesota, we’ve had some odd weather for February the past few days. We started of cold AF (well below freezing into subzero Fahrenheit temps) and then flipped the switch some place and are seeing near and well above freezing temps the past few days. All of the snow we had piled up is melting in the sunlight only to refreeze as ice overnight. Usually, we don’t get snowmelt this early, but it has been known to happen.

Anyway, the point is: there’s ice absolutely everywhere and not all of it is visible (black ice on the roadways). Sidewalks can be treacherous, and my own driveway is a skating rink thanks to the gutter installers who put in new gutters a while back because of hail damage. Its pretty dangerous out there.

I was driving my eldest daughter to her robotics team meet this evening at the ass-end of rush hour traffic. The easiest route is down a 4-lane high volume road (2 lanes each direction). It’s something I do several times a week so she can earn her letter for school and she seems to enjoy learning how to code the robot.

Business as usual.

I was driving down the right hand lane, as I eventually have to turn that direction once I get to the cross street for her school. It is dark and icy and not terribly well lit (although it doesn’t lack for street lights either). I’m paying attention to the road ahead of me when I see intermittent white flashes near the asphalt, reflections from my headlights, I suddenly swerve as it dawns on me that those flashes are a pedestrian walking down the middle of the frigging right hand lane. The middle. Otherwise, the young man was dressed in all black, with a black hoodie pulled over his head. No reflective gear. On the other side of a snowbank is a perfectly traversable sidewalk (I checked on the way home), with hardly any ice on it. A sensible person would take their chances with the ice. At bare minimum, someone should walk against traffic so you can see what is about to hit you and dodge.

But no… He was walking on a busy street with his back to oncoming traffic, dressed in black in a poorly-lit area. His response to my swerving to miss him (and thankfully not hitting another car)? He gave me a thumbs fricking up.

I am still shaking from the close call, forty-five minutes after the event.

As time goes on, I am wondering if I’m cut out for driving in the new era of I-don’t-give-a-fuck. It has gotten so bad in the past few years that I honestly avoid driving as much as possible already — and I used to be a courier while I was in college a short few 17 years ago. Even on my worst days, driving wasn’t this terrifying. Drivers are more reckless, pedestrians think the roadway is a sidewalk…

Maybe it’s because I’ve been in three major accidents thanks to awful drivers (one drunk/stoned, one teen with phone distraction, one rush hour idiot trying to cut ahead and making others make an accordion of me), but I am really tired of getting hurt by other bad drivers. Now pedestrians with a deathwish? Damn, I’m tired.

14 thoughts on “Close call

  1. Used to be a joy, driving. Not any more. The situation is the same here – too much traffic, too many people rushing to get to places they don’t want to be, too many distractions and too much aggression. And that’s before you add in phone obsessed pedestrians stepping out into the road and cyclists who seem to think that signalling is an acting exclusively for motorists.
    And don’t get me started on the cost over here!
    Which is why I got rid of the car and rely on public transport.
    At least you’re both OK.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dude. Yeah, in December I was driving at night (because it’s always night in Alaska in December lol). It was actually afternoon, but pitch black. Main side road, slick, snow and ice of course. And I *almost* run over a little kid who was apparently throwing a tantrum with mom or big sister just standing next. Both dark clothing, no reflectors. His legs were ON the road. Mind you, this is a road, no sidewalks, no edges, no houses. Of course that’s when another car is oncoming and I cannot swerve, I cannot stop, all I can do is hope his little legs aren’t out far enough to be run over. Oh god, I was cussing and yelling all the way home and for thirty minutes afterwards, still all jacked up because I almost drove over a kid who I didn’t see until I was maybe 20’ away… ugh. People.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can relate to this one as well. Different scene, but I was minding my own business riding my motorcycle down a main drag when some little kid ran across the street in front of me. Going forty to zero is not the same on a bike, as you know and I about dumped the bike swerving to miss him. My leather boots were a wreck after and I had stretch marks on my thighs from them bouncing on the ground in the hopes I’d stay vertical.

      The kid just stared at me, shrugged, and threaded the other traffic.

      Night in December starts about 4pm around here, so I know approximately what you mean.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so happy in not having a driving license.

    Sorry you had to live through that, it is quite stressful, I know, I was reading it 🙂🙃
    Good evening Micheal, hope the bread making was relaxing today.

    Liked by 1 person

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