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Okay, Let's Go Over It Again.

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK:



My contention is that four wheel drive vehicles should be illegal – especially during winter. My second suggestion is that DWS (Driving While Stupid) should be a capital offense if it involves alcohol, drugs, personal injury, or four wheel drives.

Of course, DWS would have to be illegal to begin with, but we have to start somewhere.

Look, I’ve done foolish things while driving. I once backed an ambulance into a mailbox. I ran over a stop sign with a police office standing ten feet away, watching me. I took a 1976 Pontiac Ventura off-road four wheeling – and no, Ventura’s were not FWD.

The fact that I was very young at the time may or may not be a reason, but it’s not an excuse. The fact that people much older than I was do similarly stupid things takes away even the “reason” category.

My point is, we all act foolishly now and then, and hopefully learn from our mistakes. I’m talking now about the people who have made a hobby out foolishness, and learn nothing.

Every day people get killed or maimed, vehicles destroyed, traffic snarled, nerves shot. What’s worse, the people who cause the mayhem usually walk away uninjured, whining about how traumatized they are from going through the experience.

“It was horrible, all the kids in the back of my pickup flying through the air, and the nun’s body knocked out my tire alignment -- *sob* -- I almost lost my grip on my beer. Luckily I had my cell phone in my other hand, so I was able to call 911.”

Generally – certainly not always – the drivers of big vehicles are most reckless. Why? First of all, the drivers of small cars are scared stiff. You think I’m going to tailgate a truck that has a spring loaded bumper aimed directly at my nose, and a “Honk if You Love Guns” bumper sticker? I don’t think so.

Second, many drivers of large vehicles think they own the road, and believe that ownership extends over Mother Nature. “What’s a little freezing rain? I’ve got four wheel drive!” Or, as I like to call it, four wheel ice skates.

True, it’s fun to play the game where you’re passed by an SUV, then get to point and laugh at him when he lands in the ditch two miles further on. But that’s when nobody gets hurt; sadly, people are getting hurt.

It’s the very definition of False Sense of Security. Yes, maybe you and your truck will get through your 65 mph trip in blinding snow without incident, it happens. Angels watch over the foolish. Or maybe the next time will be the one when you’ll end up parked in somebody’s living room, with a Toyota under you that can now qualify as a throw rug. Does getting away with something incredibly stupid make it right?

Here’s a wild idea: Slow your idiot rear end down. A five thousand pound block of metal, going at a speed that would have terrified an Indy 500 racer of 50 years ago, is not under your control, even in the best weather conditions. Add to that rain, deer and other idiot drivers, and you’ve got a recipe for bloody mayhem.

“I don’t care – that’s not going to happen to me,” you say. You’re a moron. Nobody’s last words were, “I have a feeling I’m going to get into a bad accident today.”

Let’s break it down:

The speed limit is not a suggestion. There are some excellent drivers who are capable of maintaining full control while streaking along at warp 5, but they don’t live around here. If they did, they’d have died with a deer in their laps a long time ago.

There’s no shame in going under the speed limit when the weather stinks. Shocking, I know. If you’re running late during a snowstorm and get behind a silver haired lady driving 45 mph, you have nobody to blame but yourself for not leaving on time. Again – shocking.

Safety belts. Yes, they are cool, because they keep you from getting your head run over as you’re thrown out of your rolling SUV because you tried to pass that silver haired lady in a snow storm. Living is cool. Living as a brain damaged paraplegic when you could have prevented it is not.

Some people are capable of maintaining driving control while holding something in their hand, some people aren’t. There’s one very bad way to tell the difference. You don’t want that person on the other end of your cell phone call to have nightmares about your last words for the rest of their lives, especially since your last words will probably consist of a stream of curses followed by a sickening crunch.

On a related note, carry a set of scales, and weigh yourself before getting into the car. If you’re not on the edge of starvation, wait until you get home to eat.

A lot of people try to excuse their accidents by saying they were “blinded by –“ fill in the blank. The sunrise, the sunset, oncoming headlights, a brilliant idea, whatever.

You know, we don’t let blind people drive in Indiana. We’re not trying to be cruel, or discriminate. It’s what used to be called common sense, before attorneys came around and had it banned. It’s the same reason, for instance, why someone who works in a foundry can’t safely continue the job if they go blind. No offense – it’s just too dangerous.

So here’s a wild idea: If you’re driving down the road, and something blinds you – STOP DRIVING. Call me crazy, but being temporarily blinded and being permanently blinded both involve not being able to see. Are you worried somebody behind you is going to be mad because you hit the brakes and pulled over? Fine – let them be mad at your very alive self.

They’re probably driving a four wheel drive, anyway.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
kazzy_cee
Feb. 16th, 2006 12:17 pm (UTC)
There's currently a lot of controversy about 4-wheel drive vehicles in the cities over here. The Mayor of London is really against them because of the space they take up and the fuel they use. No-one needs a 4 wheel drive car in the middle of London, or even where I live in the suburbs!! Yet we still see them, and I agree that people think they are totally invicible in them.

Personally I think everyone should do a course before they learn to drive riding a bike. They'd soon realise how people don't look or take into consideration the road conditions.

And don't even get me started about people with cellphones!! It's against the law here (just as it's against the law not to wear a seatbelt), but people are still using them, steering with their knees around a roundabout with children jumping about in the back seats!! */end rant*

*sighs*

Hope your friend is doing OK after the accident?
ozma914
Feb. 16th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm with the Mayor. There is a time and place for them, but big cities is not it. Certainly there are people in this area who have to get places in any whether, but most four wheel drives are bought just so somebody can say they have one. In addition to being driven badly, they're horrible on gas mileage.

I'd try to avoid one of your roundabouts even with both hands on the wheel!
curiouswombat
Feb. 16th, 2006 12:58 pm (UTC)
Sitting her nodding my head like one of those nodding head dogs that some strange people have in the back window of their cars!

People living on farms, or up dirt lanes in the hills need 4WD - people living in towns, who never venture off the tarmac do not! And the same is true of the size of the vehicles - in fact more so. Subaru do perfectly good 4WD in cars rather than bloody big boxes on wheels.

Landcruisers, Discoveries etc. are such a nuisance to the rest of us, and definitely people in them often don't give a damn about anyone else. Perhaps eventually all cars will be that tall - even though it spoils the aerodynamics and causes them to use more fuel - then the excuse that 'I like the height' will be defunct!

There has been a lot of lobbying in the UK, apart from by the Mayor of London, to have the bull-bars banned whilst on the open road. I can see why they are very helpful where you live, with suicidal deer, or in the Aussie outback where they are called roo bars for a reason, but when doing the school run around a city they are unnecessary - and cause the death of other people's children if they step in front of you, where if they had stepped in front of an ordinary car they would probably have got away with a couple of broken bones. Or the death of your own child if they step in front of someone else's matching 'tank'.


ozma914
Feb. 16th, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
It's hard for me to disagree with you -- because I don't.

But I'll probably get a lot of grief from American readers, who value their freedom of the open road even if it's the freedom to do damn fool things. Even with today's high gas prices (comparitively -- still cheaper than yours), people are still buying those huge gas guzzlers. Me, if it doesn't get at least 30 mph, I'm not touching it.
pfeifferpack
Feb. 16th, 2006 03:18 pm (UTC)
So well said...sarcasm becomes you *G*.

Sigh, here in NM we have a major problem with DUI's. I'm not talking about some scandel where some schmuck has a couple and is still driving....I'm talking about the newspaper that publishes a list a couple of times of the year and there are folks...STILL DRIVING with up to 20 convictions! It is a normal occurance for our public officials such as judges and legislators to wind up in the papers with a DUI (usually multiple offenses)...one of the State Government officials (still in office BTW) is up on charges that she was carrying a bag of marijuana through the airport security!

Where we life there is a two lane road with a solid yellow line, many hills and turns. The speed limit is 45. I don't think I've ever seen anyone (even the police) go under 55 and everyone passes like crazy! Duh, double yellow has always meant no passing PERIOD! There are lots of crosses on the side of the road to show where someone didn't make it too.

The world is filled with loons but they just won't stay on the pond!

Kathleen
ozma914
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:07 pm (UTC)
Hopefully I won't become sarcasm
Wow. I was going to say that there are problems with drunk drivers everywhere, but it seems you've got us beat. I can't imagine an official in this state getting a DUI conviction and being able to stay in office, although heaven knows they manage to get away with plenty else.

But the bad driving -- everywhere. It's a symptom of a larger problem, which is that the 60's generation that disregarded authority never matured, and instead of teaching their kids respect, they defend the kids who do stupid things. If I'd told my parents it was the fault of the police, or society, for something I did wrong, I wouldn't have been able to stand for a week. Things won't get better until parents learn to be parents again.
pfeifferpack
Feb. 16th, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Hopefully I won't become sarcasm
I completely agree! There is a clear line between discipline and abuse and in an effort to stop one they eliminated both in the homes and schools! I have only watched the Nanny 911 show once but clearly the "amazing methods" she uses to tame the wild children is nothing more than a return to the way we were raised!

I went to Catholic schools growing up. If I got in trouble at school, not only could they discipline but by the time I got home I knew it would be double there! It only takes once. I used to say they taught the resurrection by killing the misbehaving kids, resurrecting them and sending them home to be murdered by mom and dad.

Lack of personal responsibility is everywhere and the root of many of society's ills IMHO.

Yup, NM is number one with DUI's and it's a rare official without at least one to his/her name. Sad but true (...:sarcasm font:... I'm so proud!).

Kathleen
ozma914
Feb. 17th, 2006 06:36 am (UTC)
Catholic schools
That's the way it was around here. When you screwed up in a small town, by the time you got home you knew a parent would be waiting at the door. That was before the parents started getting defensive about the idea of their kids doing something wrong. In fact, even when it wasn't the kid's fault he was guilty until proven innocent.

I very rarely had to spank my kids -- because they knew I *would*. And guess what? They don't get into trouble.
cbtreks
Feb. 17th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC)
The bad driver rant is one I try to avoid or I'll go on for ages. Las Vegas is just scary. Filled with terrible drivers. *shudder*

Irish and I want an SUV someday for his business - he makes leather armor and sells it at renaissance faires. Currently he's working with and travels with a friend of his who sells bulk leather but someday it'd be good if he can be an independent vendor. He'd need the SUV for hauling but I would want it to be a second vehicle that's used for that specific purpose, not the one we go to the library or church or the grocery store in. That's just a waste of gas - and, as you point out, dangerous. (Does anyone make station wagons anymore? You can haul a buttload in those!)

Still praying for your friend.
ozma914
Feb. 17th, 2006 06:09 am (UTC)
gas guzzling
I believe there is at least one car maker who still builds station wagons, but I can't recall which. It's a good idea ... actually, an SUV is probably a good idea in hiw case. If it's needed, it's needed. I agree that the best idea is to have two vehicles, and use the one that gets the better gas mileage when possible. But, after all, sometimes it's just not possible.
mygothangel
Jan. 16th, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
DWS (Driving While Stupid) should be a capital offense
yes, please do! the motorway would be mostly heavenly free, making commuting a pleasure

four wheel ice skates
*snort*

resuming; *sigh* I wish all your suggestions become true
at least here in Germany we have always the high purchase and even higher maintenance hurdle for the poorer idiots
the rich ones can drive those monstrosities, of course, but at least it makes me grateful we have so many not-so-rich citizens

PS in case it's not clear - we have no speed limit here
ozma914
Jan. 16th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
I watched a History Channel program about driving in Germany awhile back. As I understand it, there's no speed limit, but they're stricter about the laws that do exist. Apparently you have a lot fewer accidents than we do, but because of the higher speeds those few accidents you do have can be very serious.

You also have much higher gas prices, so people don't tend to go out joyriding quite as much as they do here -- and it's the joyriders who are the stupidest drivers. Overall, I think I like your way better.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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