Thursday, June 28, 2012

Road Hazards

 Three in a Day!

We're familiar with 3,2,1 on a count-down; 1,2,3 Go!  “3 strikes you're out!”
We know of The Three Kings; 3 meals a day; and placings of 1st, 2nd, 3rd.

The numeral 3 represents that which is
solid, substantial, complete and entire.
the difference of time: past, present, future;
three persons in grammar ~ me, myself and I;
the sign of  human ability is 3-fold ~ thought, word and deed;
the 3 kingdoms of matter ~ animal,vegetable and mineral;
the doctrine of Christianity ~ The Trinity;

The number 3 is mystical and spiritual...featured in folklore ~
3 wishes, 3 guesses, 3 little pigs, 3 blind mice, 3 bears.

Good things in our lives often come in groups of three:
3 birthdays in a month, 3 wedding invitations,
3 unexpected friends who call...
and we rejoice, “How Wonderful!”

Occasionally, the occurrence of three events can be ominous...
(threatening, inauspicious and unfavourable)
e.g. deaths and funerals, accidents, rejections.
Yesterday, at a light industrial mall, I had stopped on an errand.  
Leaving from there to approach Appleby Line, I passed several vehicles  parked
along the mall entrances to its numerous businesses.  Fortunately, I observe
 “the tail lights” to ensure no driver (if at the wheel) is not going to act inadvertently
 to back up.  Yes!  A dark van on my right began his move backward...without
checking for “traffic” along the exiting drive lane.  My horn  “at ready”
warned him. Immediately, the brake lights became a vivid  red!
The driver had stopped!

Southbound on Appleby Line, and prior to my later appointment I decided to
enjoy a salad at McDonald's with a “50% off coupon”.  Suddenly, from a street
on my right, a vehicle shot in front of me (without stopping at his stop sign)
and sped into the busy four lanes.  So Unexpected!  I horned him and had to avoid a catastrophe.  The driver was unconcerned...he “beat the system”!
By now, my nerves are a bit edgy!  I did enjoy the Tuscan Salad and solving
the Soduko puzzle of today.

My appointment was near Walker's Line and New Street.  Oblivious that I was
driving on Fairview Street, I realize too late, this was not New Street.  In the
right lane, I had no choice except to go north, planning to  turn around at the
first opportunity to  head south toward my destination.  The inside lane showed
arrows for left turns...I signalled and began to initiate my turn.  Plenty of space
before the arriving southbound cars in two lanes. WOW!  Nowhere to enter!!!
Straight in front was a concrete curb and small grassy/gravelly area in front of
a fence.  CHOICE?   a) mount the curb  b) cannot turn right into oncoming
traffic  c)  a quick check advised that my only choice was a U-turn...with
sufficient space to do so!  Within a few seconds, a dark coloured SUV was
on my tail!  Horn blasting!  She passed on my left, then immediately drove
in front of my car in my lane and stopped pronto!  Leaving her driver's side
door totally open (which could be hit by cars in the next lane), she marched
with determination to my side window. She yelled and screamed at me with
voice and fists.  Calmly, I observed this 35-40 year old woman dressed in
black pants and shirt as she ranted at my window.  “I'm sorry,” I stated.
She shouted, “You almost killed me!!!”  With my window still up...and
receiving no further responses from me...noticing the line of traffic behind
me waiting to exit to Fairview Street, she doggedly returned to her
open-door vehicle! But she wasn't through yet!  With her digital camera 
(perhaps her cell tel.) she continued to hold up traffic while she photoed
my front licence plate, then photoed me through the windshield...I was
wearing sunglasses. Then a few more unsavoury words...she issued!

My question”?  Why was she so threateningly close to my rear bumper?
She had to be speeding and not looking...the only possible explanation!
Three in One Three Too Many!
Thrice Hazardous!

“Road Rage” is a term that has become popular
to describe anyone's hostile reactions when driving
that is directed toward the other driver(s).
It occurs with all ages and genders.

Advice:  Refuse to allow the driver(s) you do not know
and will never see dictate your mood and determine
the quality of your day. The angry or stressed-out driver
is a potentially dangerous driver.

If she had observed what my driving dilemma was, she may have been more
considerate. She was...speeding, I suspect...and totally unaware of another
driver's predicament.

Was I upset?  No.  I remained calm while she ranted and raged.
To confront her would be “adding to her fire”.
I only spoke two words.

Gary Magwood, a driving educator and trainer, states:
I receive letters and e-mails complaining about  the behaviour and attitudes
of their fellow motorists.  “Damn tailgaters, left-lane pains, speeders, red-light
runners, SUV's, transports, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists, minivans, cell-
telephone users and coffee drinkers. May I humbly suggest that we all are
“guilty” of making mistakes behind the wheel. Concentrating on the driving
task requires constant monitoring.

We also get distracted  by what other drivers are doing  or not doing. 
Not only do we get distracted, we get frustrated  and then angry because
we consider their behaviour to be anything among...inappropriate, dangerous,
stupid, threatening or impolite.  Learning to apply the appropriate  pressure
is a combination of ...observation, education and hands-on-training. 
The amount of pressure is contingent on how we use our eyes...
foreseeing a problem!

Concentrating and focusing on the driving task is even more important
than in the past.  Speeds, multi-lane highways, traffic density and our
hopped-up-lives create a very stressful driving environment.

In the Hamilton Spectator, dated June 28, 2012, was this caption:
Infuriated driver who endangered bicyclists is fined for
“stupid two minutes” of road rage." 

A Driving Lesson from my Dad

In my teen years, this important lesson I learned!  The QEW (long before most
of you will remember) was a beautifully boulevarded highway...grassy, treed
and tall lights between the eastward and westward routes...each 2 lanes to and
from Toronto. In passing a vehicle on its left, my Dad always watched the
driver's front left wheel to ensure  he was not diverting into my father's lane.
We were driving to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) one August Day. 
The ahead car, not noticing our car on his left, began to merge into our lane. 
Dad honked the horn (which the driver ignored) avoid collision, my father
had to turn into the boulevard area ...safely...before returning to the drive lane.
To this day, I've adopted his good habit.

“Pearl of Wisdom”
You're never too old to Learn.
You're never too old to Teach.
You should never be too old to Listen!

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . written June 15, 2011
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