12 May 2010, 11:52am
Safety:
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It happens to the best of us

fender_benderI’m a good driver.¬† No, really, I am.¬† I do all the things good drivers do: I try to predict what other motorists are going to do and plan accordingly (and I’m right most of the time, no small feat in this town); I keep an eye far enough down the road so as to see hazards well in advance; I know traffic laws inside-and-out and obey them (OK, except maybe for a few mph over the speed limit); I yield the right-of-way to bozos who aren’t paying attention or just don’t care; and so on.¬† But last Friday I did something I’ve seen dozens of others do and something that I’m usually very aware of and am careful to avoid, and the result was a lovely fender bender.¬†

Of course, the first question folks ask is if anyone was hurt.¬† Fortunately, everyone was fine– in fact, the airbags didn’t even deploy.¬† So the next question, then, is what happened?

What happened to me has probably happened to most motorists at one time or another.¬†¬†I was¬†making a right turn and there was a vehicle stopped in front of¬†me waiting for a gap in the traffic.¬† A gap came along and the vehicle in front of me started moving forward, so¬†I started¬†looking back for¬†a gap to merge into.¬† When a break came along a few seconds later,¬†I started to accelerate only to realize that the car in front¬†of me¬†didn’t actually go when¬†I thought they did.¬† I hit the brakes hard¬†but it was already too late.¬† BAM!

Of course, the way to avoid this is to always look¬†forward again at where you’re going before you start to accelerate, not only to make sure the preceding vehicle has cleared, but also to make sure that another previously unseen¬†vehicle,¬†pedestrian, bicyclist, UFO, or whatnot hasn’t suddenly appeared in your path.¬† I usually do this, but this time I was in a hurry and, as a result, was a little careless.¬†

So hopefully my story will help someone else avoid this all-too-common traffic mistake and the unfortunate results it can bring.

 

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