It started subtly at first, about a year ago, but then grew and grew as time went by and, I could see the inevitable. More and more death, more and more destruction of property that wasn’t intended to be destroyed. More and more futile attempts by law enforcement and traffic courts to stem the crushing tide of mayhem on our roadways. In December 2017 I witnessed eleven collisions in a five-mile radius of my home. On Dec. 25th I checked the traffic conditions before leaving my home and, discovered there were seven collisions in the Nashville area alone that were currently either slowing traffic or diverting it from the scene. Two persons in January '18 described in detail near death collisions that month. Daily I see at least two damaged vehicles (unrepaired) that are evidence of other collisions. As I mention in the book, “The more we can reduce collisions of vehicles the fewer deaths will occur on our roadways, ESPECIALLY AMONGST OUR YOUTH.” I want to confess here that I didn't go directly from observing to researching and writing:factually I got irked by the repetitive foolishness and the knuckleheadness of drivers i witnessed doing odd and dangerous maneuvers, and in some cases took it out on them as a personal affront. But I knew that would not suffice, so then I had what some would call a divine reconciliation.
I wrote then the book The Careless Driver, subtitled The Under-trained Driver, as it says on the back cover: “I have great hopes that the information in this book, and the non-accusative manner in which it is delivered will find a large audience with parents, driver training school owners and instructors, traffic court judges and DMVs, as well as the general driving population of America. (Possibly not with auto insurance companies.) More and better driver training should ensue with noticeable reduction of fatalities, especially among our youth.
This morning (8 March ’18) I drove down 2nd Avenue at a modest 30 mph towards the heart of Nashville for an appointment at 9:00 A.M. This is the RUSH HOUR, until 10:00 A.M or 10:30.
A 4-door sedan darted across my path from behind a tractor-trailer waiting to turn West on Lea Street as I was nearing Lea Street. The 4-door vehicle darted out from my left and crossed three lanes of traffic at speed. It didn’t clear all three lanes. I hit, after braking sharply, the side of the vehicle at approximately 15 mph in the third lane. Enough to put a large area of impact, and enough to smash the entire front end of my vehicle. Now, I’ll repeat again, the title of the book is THE CARELESS DRIVER. Why did the young construction worker decide that he could drive his vehicle across three lanes of rush-hour traffic from behind a blind created at the Stop sign by the presence of a tractor-trailer (18 wheeler)? Mr. Alexander stated to me: “The driver of the rig waved me through the stop sign.” Without questioning this “reason” it remains that this 22 year old youth made a poor decision, since he could not see through the rig at all, so was depending on luck, or guts, or the driver of the rig to be 100% dependable. None of which are mental attitudes or motives for an expert driver.
Some few northern states in order to obtain a drive license demand 100 hours of behind the wheel of supervised instruction, usually by a licensed driver 25 years or older. But most states have very minor requirements such as driving around the block at the 35-mph speed limit or slower and parking the car.
I did not discuss the driver training level of Mr. Alexander, after exchanging the perfunctory license, registration, insurance and telephone numbers, and waiting one hour and a half in 34-degree temperature for a police officer to make out his report. So, I can’t with 100% accuracy predict that Mr. Alexander has never been shown how to drive a vehicle safely in rush-hour traffic, in clogged city streets or from behind blind spots created by trucks. No, I can’t with complete equanimity state that. But I can state that it is highly probable that Mr. Alexander would have fared much better this morning had he for sure gotten that professional type training.
As a footnote, it is well that my reflexes are as quick as they are, or I may have been writing from a condition in a hospital bed, the same condition as would have been for Mr. Alexander.
Don’t just drive defensively, drive expertly. Fare thee well.
PS. The book is now officially published.
PPS. Perhaps the one comical part of this unnecessary encounter, happened immediately after I snapped a photo of the debris left on 2nd Avenue where our two cars came together. A man wearing a red jacket and brown pants, gloves for the cold and a night-watch cap sauntered by my car window and began picking up the pieces left. Not a minute after. Never have I seen in ten years anyone on the streets of Nashville doing street pickup. Reminded me of the animated cartoons where robots come out of a wall in somebody's house the instant something is broken and smartly sweeps up all and go back into the wall.