Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Close Call

Looking left
When you live on a farm and approach a country road like this one, where you can see quite a ways in both directions, you easily get into the habit of looking left and right and slowing but not stopping at the yield sign. This is what I’ve been doing, and obviously it has to change because on the weekend I pulled onto the correction line only to be shocked by a neighbour’s half-ton whizzing by the windshield, just inches away.

I had looked both ways — Scott was with me, and saw me do it as he himself was reaching into the back seat — but one glance in each direction is not enough. Because see that bar there? (Never mind the cat pawprints on the glass; I went back a couple days later just to take these pictures for you and remind myself how close we came to a serious dustup; the pawprints weren't there on the afternoon in question.)

Looking right
That three-inch-wide bar creates a blind spot into which a moving vehicle disappears for only a moment or two. But it’s long enough to be the cause of a terrible accident.

So, don’t look once in each direction. Look TWICE.

A near-miss like this has happened to me before. I can remember at least two other times. I swear, there are traffic angels on my side or I'd've been toast years ago.

From now on I stop completely at all intersections, even if I’m miles from a busy road, even if I feel like an over-cautious old lady. I’ll be an unmangled old lady and my passengers and other drivers will be safer, and that’s what matters.

The day after this incident I phoned the neighbour to apologize. “You can send me your drycleaning bill,” I said.

He’d seen me at the corner, thought I was going to stop, had already moved over when I didn't, and was prepared to “take the ditch” if necessary. So Scott and I were not in any danger, it turns out, due to our neighbour being 10 times more on the ball than I was. Thank goodness Mr B’s truck hurtled past before he had to hit the ditch. It must be hard to live with when you’re responsible for an accident that hurts someone.