Cars + People = Chaos

Humans have a fundamental problem with driving. We get into our little machines which have way more power than we realize, and toodle around, completely oblivious to everyone else on the road. Take, for example, my recent trek northwards on 35E. A trucker (who should know better) hit the left blinker, and seconds later, I saw 4000+ pounds of steel-encased gravel swinging my way. Perhaps he was used to people swerving wildly around him, in an attempt to save their lives. Tromping on the brakes, I watched the bed continue to follow the tractor into the left lane. It had all the grace and precision of a Toyota Sienna being maneuvered by a Nascar driver. Crazy, I thought, though the incident had handily removed the man who was tailing me. It reminds me of a joke:

The National Transportation Safety Board recently divulged they had covertly funded a project with the auto makers for the past five years. In it, automobile companies installed black boxes in four-wheel drive pick-up trucks in an effort to determine, in fatal accidents, the circumstances in the last 15 seconds before the crash.

They were surprised to find in 48 of the 50 states the last words of drivers in 61.2% of fatal crashes were “OH SHIT!”

Only the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin were different, where over 89.3% of the final words were: “Hold my beer and watch this.”

Or, take this incident: I pulled up into a left turn lane, waiting for a green arrow. As I waited, the two lanes to my right received a green light. The car to my right stayed in place. I looked over to the kid in the car, making eye contact. He returned an inscrutable look as I tried to guide his eyes to the green light in front of him. I gave up, and he waited another 30 seconds until someone behind him beeped him ahead. I shook my head, laughing.

Let’s face it: we are easily lulled into a false sense of security and it makes us stiink at driving.

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