Recently, my blogger friend A. was talking about how certain life events change your path or attitude, and it got me to thinking: which are the incidents that mattered in my life. Now I know that pretty much every decision you make alters your life in a certain way (we’ve all seen those alternate tale movies, or read the books) but which are the ones you can pinpoint? I’ve chosen five this week to discuss…

When I was about a year or so out of college I bought a car- black Toyota celica. Not exactly a sports car, but it had a lot more pep than my Cutlas Supreme.  I loved driving this car: it was little and cute and perfect.

One weekend I was going to the Philadelphia area to my cousins wedding.  I did not drive out to Philly with my parents because I was going to visit some friends in that area after the wedding.

I liked speed- I liked the feel of going fast in a car.  But, I’m always relatively practical.  So my rate of speed was clearly over the speed limit, but not so high that I would look like a blur going by…

Except that I maintained a too high speed going into a curve and I spun out a little. Actually it was a lot, but I got lucky that day that there were no other cars close to me. I got lucky that I wasn’t close to a divider or anything like that. I got lucky because there was absolutely no physical damage to me, my car or any other person.

Physical damage.

Because emotionally I was freaked out.

After that incident that really wasn’t I completely soured on driving. I started to hate getting behind the wheel of a car.  I’m perfectly fine being a passenger. It’s one of the few situations that I am fine being not in control, because I don’t trust my judgement as a driver.

I now live, and have lived, in areas that don’t require me to drive much.  I do not own a car. I tend to let others drive. I use mass transit all the time. My daughter has applied to schools in Nashville and Houston that she has not visited yet.  If she gets into either of these schools and wants to see them, I will not rent a car in either of these driving friendly cities: we will rely on uber share.

I lost any love for driving I ever had on that day. And it wasn’t even an accident. But the sheer thought of how I could have hurt myself or others due entirely to hubris has freaked me out.

I can drive and am a reasonably good driver. I will drive if I must, but I am incredibly careful when driving. I hate driving at night, or in the rain because I really don’t feel comfortable in less than favorable conditions. I don’t drive if I don’t need to.

One incident. An incident that sort of sealed my love for urban environments. Closed the door on cars for me.

 

42 thoughts on “The Almost Accident

  1. We’ve been driving used cars for so many years that driving feels a bit like a slog sometimes. Then, last May, we got a new car gifted/inherited to us (less than a year old) and it feels like luxury. Driving has taken on a new dimension!

    I had a serious accident that totaled the car but left me in one piece back in my flight attendant days. I was young (24ish?) so I got back into the car and continued driving, just a little bit more aware, I guess. But I knew instinctively I didn’t have a choice – there are no buses to the airport for flights and a car was a necessity, so I just went back to do it.

    One day, I had to be there for a 4:45 am showtime (7 am departure). A cop pulled me over as I was pulling out of a coffee drive through. I remember thinking, why? I’m not speeding since I’m literally just pulling into the street…maybe he thought I was a hooker? lol (although hookers probably don’t drive Tercels…) 🙂 I think he was bored, saw a girl driving in the middle of the night by herself, wanted to know her story. We chatted, he saw my uniform and I was release. 🙂

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  2. About ten years ago I was rear-ended by another car. She wasn’t driving very quickly but did enough damage for the insurance company to deem the car totaled.
    Shortly after that I got a ticket for not yielding to a crossing guard. It was extremely busy conditions and I was following traffic and he’d just barely started crossing and I was devastated at the unfairness, the timing, and the cost. I called our insurance company and volunteered to take myself off the insurance. I vowed to never drive again.
    I also remember feeling anxiously too close to other vehicles for a time.

    That resolve didn’t last long, mostly due to the impractical nature of my resolve. 🚗

    I recently had my first accident in which I was responsible, and noticed I’m a bit more anxious driving -but less than last time.

    I think driving is dangerous and safety is important but also know that I can feel better after the initial shock of most situations. Then again, I’m once-bitten-twice-shy in social encounters. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love driving. I don’t mind driving four hours to get to Reno to do a little gambling. I did, however, make a bad decision when I was in my twenties to drive to Reno, stay up for 24 hours and then drive home. I fell asleep at the wheel and thank goodness for the road divider as I hit it, which woke me up. I knew I was getting tired and I should have pulled over to the side to take a nap but I was trying to get home in time to go to work that day. How crazy was that? Needless to say, I didn’t make it in to work, my car had to be towed to the nearest repair shop and I had to have my sister come and rescue me. Fortunately, no one else was involved in the crash and I wasn’t injured – probably because I was asleep. I did get a ticket for “driving under unsafe conditions.” It didn’t make me not like driving, just made me be careful about not driving when I’m tired.

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  4. It’s funny how an incident like that can affect your life. I was in a car accident the first time my parents let me take the car to work at a summer job. I wasn’t hurt but the car was totaled and I was extremely upset and refused to drive again. It happened about a week before I returned to school in the fall, but we took the subway in Toronto so it didn’t matter at the time. (I had also been in an accident a few years earlier while on a date with a new boyfriend, our one and only date.) In retrospect I really didn’t have enough experience to be driving by myself at night, as I was so nervous I failed my first driver’s test. I was 19 at the time, and didn’t drive again until I was 27years old when I bought a little Fiero sports-car, as incentive. I could get by without a car while going to school and after I got an apartment within walking distance of the hospital where I worked but not having a car affected my social life. I had to take lessons again to get my nerve up, and it was about 2 years before I felt somewhat comfortable driving. I still can’t drive on major freeways, but these days when people drive like they are in a video game and their are so many big trucks on the highways I wouldn’t want to). How it affected my life – I think of all the parties I missed and things I could have done socially during those lost years, as I was always dependent on friends and family to take me places. I have a divorced friend who is 70 and she never drove (as so many women didn’t back then as they relied on their spouses), and is so dependent on her friends to take her anywhere. I wouldn’t want to be in that position, it’s bad enough when you are old and lose your license and your independence. My mother gave up driving at 87 after her last hip operation, and says that she misses being able to drive herself to the grocery store – even though I take her every week – it’s not the same thing. You are lucky you live in a city with such a great transportation system! And Uber is a wonderful idea to get to those school interviews! I

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Good point….they would be wonderful for seniors who can no longer drive….but I wonder if I would trust one…..the same with self-flying planes. Other than on freeways, I like to be the one driving, as I am in control!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can totally relate. I like to drive fast as well but am usually practical about it. I only drive 5 over, maybe 8 if I am in a true hurry. I don’t use cruise control because I hate being controlled.

    After my kids were born, there were a couple of close calls where I feared that I wasn’t able to be in control. I was afraid of them getting in an accident and hurting them. I started having panic attacks while driving. My natural instinct was to not want to leave my house. But I also did not want fear to control me. It took a long time, but I am not afraid of driving anymore.

    However, being the control freak that I am, I would rather have someone else drive. I can give over control in this one area because honestly I would blame myself if something happened even though I might not be at fault. Unfortunately, I have to drive everywhere I go. The roads are usually bad a couple months a year.

    I worry a lot about my kids driving. This year we have had so many snow days that the school districts are not closing when they normally would on years with less snow days. We could get 5 inches of snow and the schools are open. We have had a lot of people dying on our roads this winter.

    Good thing you live in a place where you don’t have to drive. However, will your daughter learn how to drive if she attends a more ‘rural’ school? Would you drive again if it means seeing her more often?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter is a true urban girl and has factored that into her school options…only one is in a rural area and I think it’s probably her last choice school. And other than parents weekend I can’t imagine visiting her. I know how involved with stuff she gets.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A lovely reflective post, events such as these change our lives also outlook simply because we realise ‘today was my lucky day’ and tomorrow may not have been. We all make mistakes and I’m positive you are a good driver but I understand completely why 🙂 .

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve lived urban and suburban. I never drove when living urban, but do now all the time as a suburbanite. I wonder if you moved to a different environment and were forced to drive because you lived there, if you’d get your driving mojo back? Never say never, as they say…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is amazing how some incidents don’t leave much of an impression on us, while others change our lives forever. I think the ones that have the biggest, and most negative, impact are the ones that make us doubt ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Not really an option where I live. You must drive, particularly if you have children involved in activities. I’ve actually parlayed my driving into a part-time paying gig, so it actually pays to drive.

    Liked by 1 person

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