Edition #1, December 4, 2023: “Traffic Safety”
(Listen to the author.)
One of these days, I'm certain, I will die.
I've successfully made it this far, however, by being very careful around automobiles.
When I am close to traffic, I assume that all drivers are about to have an aneurysm, heart attack, or perhaps a huge sneeze, thus severely reducing their competence to be in charge of their vehicle. Any of these mishaps can cause a driver to miss the brake pedal in favour of the gas, swerve abruptly, or — well, I'm sure there are many other possibilities.
This, of course, presumes that drivers are normally competent. Alas, a certain percentage of them are not. Many, though competent, sometimes allow their concentration to slide from the road to other, at the time seemingly more important matters — until the crash comes.
Then there are the vehicular homicidal maniacs, of which, happily, there are few.
Oh, there's also mechanical failure. The best trained, most alert drivers are little better than children in play cars when brakes or steering fail.
Of the two times I have come disturbingly close to being hit by a car, both were while I was legally (and supposedly safely) crossing at a traffic light.
In the first, a car was about to turn left onto the street I was going to cross. I waited for the white hand to beckon me, began to walk, then stopped and took a step back just in time to avoid the car, which was quickly and illegally proceeding through the intersection.
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Though this happened more than 20 years ago, I still remember the driver's happy smile for me as she almost ran me over.
Nine years ago, I was waiting for a walk signal at another intersection in another town. A small red car pulled up beside me, clearly intending to turn right. When the white hand beckoned, I began to walk. The car turned, abruptly. Once again, I stopped and deftly stepped back.
This time, the driver didn't smile. Instead, he stopped, stuck his head out, and loudly berated me for stepping out in front of him.
I calmly pointed out that it was, legally, my turn to walk. He disagreed, and I suggested, less calmly and much more loudly, that he get out of his car so I could rearrange his face. He thought better of the matter and drove away.
Just ask Pete and the customers that were there that day at Pete's Corner Grill in Parkdale. I'm sure many will remember the incident.
Here's my advice to pedestrians. To be safe, it's best to assume that all drivers are out to get you. That, and be ready to run.
~ Clair Culliford