People don’t take my Safe Driving Blogs seriously, you know why? everyone is smitten by Complacency. Everyone is satisfied with their skill level even when it’s poor. Can you imagine a Surgeon or a Pilot with the same mindset. An Alcoholic could be laying on the Ground, yet you can’t tell him that there is a Problem, same with Bad Drivers, they live on a Wing and a Prayer. So the rest of us inherit the job of always looking out for them. I would rather speak on any other subject but It always come back home to safe Driving. The reason for that is I live in Tampa where there is an Epidemic of bad Drivers. The Statestics for three years ago is seven Million reported accidents, Fatalities are astronomical. While thinking about how insignificant life is to these People, my Mind reflected back to Christmas Eve 2007. We were working for Maui Corporation, the Company showed their appreciation by giving us a Christmas Party with Raffles, good Food Dancing and Festivities. We were having a good time, then in a flash the party was over, tragedy came by way of a Phone call. One of my Coworkers a young Husband and Father, got the very worst News. His Wife who was on her Way to the Christmas Party to show off the Baby ran off the Road and hit a Tree. The Infant and Mother were Ejected from the Vehicle, she didn’t Survive, the Lord looked out for the Baby. Do you still wonder why I picked such a hard Topic such as Safe Driving to always be Bellowing about. The Bad Accidents that I have seen is enough to scare me straight. What I am trying to do do is Graft my Driving Nightmares into you, So that every time you get behind the wheel you act as I do, Safety first always.
The World’s Greatest Daredevil
Every time I get behind the Wheel, two things my Driving Instructor told me resonates in my Mind. Drive like you are the only one out there that knows what you are doing, free your Mind of all distractions including your childlike behaviors. I always check my Mirrors, I listen to the Motor for any sounds other than the Lifters ticking like a Timex, also the very first Squeeking from the Brakes, they gets replaced. When I shift from park the tug should be no more than a tap on the Shoulders, more than that You should have your Brakes and Transmission checked. That is the difference between a Vehicle Operator, a Driver and a Motorist. A Motorist knows the Vehicle’s Limitations. A Trucker will only call you a Driver if you put in long Hours behind the Wheel and Exercise the utmost of safety in handling of the Vehicle.
A Motorist goes one step further, he has respect for his Vehicle and the Lives around him, he operates his Vehicle safely every time he is behind the Wheel, no Deviation. Whether he is going to the Corner Store or Cross Country, Safety is always first and Foremost. August 2019 I used a couple of my Vacation Days to take a Road Trip from Florida to South Carolina. Remember what I said about Complacency, it is Written in the Stone composition of the Median Walls up and down I-95. I saw People who struggled with a fifteen minutes commute out there driving the same way they Drove back and forth to Work, in a mindless Trance doing 100MPH, or better. The Old Adage give them a Yard must have been written for Speed Limits. If it says forty five, sixty is the norm, so what about seventy.
I travel at Trucker’s speed no more than ten to twelve MPH Over the speed limit. Yet inexperienced young Drivers and old Fools were blowing my Doors off like I was standing still. At 100MPH if a Mishap occurs there are few counter measures that can save your Life before you hit that Median Wall, where Complacency and recklessness lands you. The same Complacency that you never try to improve since the first Day you Drove without an Instructor in the Passenger Seat. If the DMV Employee who passed you had secretly placed a Dash cam in the Vehicle for twenty four Hours to see how you actually Drove, a Drivers License would never have be issued to you. The only reason he issued one to you is, for that half an Hour he observed you during the Road Test, you exhibited the basic skills necessary for the operation of a Vehicle.
Noticed the word Operation, that makes you a Vehicle Operator, not a Driver. It takes years of safe operation of a Vehicle before you become a Driver and many years of Contentious Safe Driving before you are considered a Motorist. So why does the majority of Operators think that they are Racecar Drivers until they drive themselves smack into that Median, the same one that Complacency never showed them. Or do 120 to catch up to me, then sit in my Blind Spot until I change Lanes unwittingly that you are there, and we both Roll and burst in Flames. I have been Driving for over fifty years and had one Roll over, a Commercial Truck that I intentionally Rolled to save Lives. On my way to Deliver Building Materials to a Construction Jobsite at the top of a ninety Degree hill climb, the Truck made it to the top grudgingly. On the way back down the first time I applied the Brakes I realized that this was going to be a Ride from Hell. The Truck was equipped with Air Brakes that wasn’t working.
As soon as I realized that the Compressor wasn’t working I started pumping the Brakes frantically, to no avail. I then dug deep into my bag of Skills, first I hit a Medium Sized Tree to slow me down, that didn’t work, I took the Tree from its Roots and kept going. I knew that I had to stop the Truck before I made it to the foot of the Hill where a busy Intersection awaits. I deliberately slammed into the high Dirt Mound to further slow the Vehicle down, it worked. Approaching the Intersection the Brakes had further deteriorated from no Air being supplied to the Tank. My last and only resort from causing Calamities at the Intersection was to crash through a Fence into someone’s Yard and Flip the Truck. It came to a stop on it’s side ten feet from the House, a ten years old Child watched it all from the Window that the Truck was heading for. This is why I write Blogs about safe Driving, to let you know that even Dale Earnhardt can run into situations behind the Wheel That can and will take your Life. Knowing that, why would I ever in fifty years of Driving in all kinds of Weather treat my Driving Skills with Complacency. Every time I get behind the Wheel is a new opportunity to sharpen my Driving Skills and not to act like an eighteen years old spoiled rotten Kid. If there is only one thing that I have Learned in sixty seven years of living is, with Complacency there is no Motivation to Excel.
Two years out of High School my second Job was working in the Mailroom of US Plywood Corporate Office. Back then USP was a Major Conglomerate, it was one of those Companies where you could start in the Mailroom and work your way to the Top. It was there that I met Charlie, he left an Impression on me for the rest of my Life. He stayed in the same Job in the Mailroom for twenty five years, that’s Complacency. To be that way with Driving not wanting to be good enough to save Lives is Negligent. Knowing that your Number one Objective when Driving is to always be looking out for the other Guy. Not you becoming the Other Guy. About a Month ago on the Main Strip to my House I noticed about ten Police Vehicles, also First Responders including the Ambulance that was in no Hurry to depart. I Video Recorded the Scene, it Captured an Adult Tricycle totally Mangled, in a 45 MPH Zone. Six months Earlier fifty feet further a Woman was ran over And Killed. Like Pac said can you see me now, that’s not what Driving is about, showing me that you are Chic burning up the Blacktop. My Car does 170 easy, two weeks ago I ran the Engine up to 89 MPH going over one of Florida’s long Bridges for the first time in four years of Ownership. Using the same Bridge to go Home Eleven at Night 100 is done every other fifty Cars, at least one an Hour, I call them Bridge Jumpers, if a Tire blows while he is passing me, my Wife gets the Phone call. Now you see me now you don’t, that is the childlike mentality I deal with daily, oftentimes the outcomes are Catastrophic. This is why you need to be good out there, being able to save Lives, even yours. Always watching out for the Other Guy, don’t become the Other Guy.