A Safe Driving Reminder
by Matthew Chase

Here it is a week later and I hope all of you are gearing up for the spring season! It will soon be time to do all the cleaning and airing out after these months of being cooped up indoors. I am mostly looking forward to the increase in daytime hours! The more sunlight I receive, the more my mood goes up.

I had a very busy birthday last week. I had fun and got some important stuff out of the way! I had a nice dinner with the folks, and then a few drinks with some friends at a local pub. jackdaniels.jpgThe next morning I hopped into my car yet again and made the trek to my twin brother’s house to give him a gift I had collected for him. Up here on the mountain they have been doing a “Jack Daniels” promotion. It happens to be my brother’s favorite liquor, as well as my own. So when I told the representatives, they gave my brother a nice collection of promotional material. Stick-on patches, shirts, bandannas, and key chains. So I boxed it all up and personally bought him a pint of the stuff to go with it. So my brother was totally “Jacked Up” for his birthday. The manager here at the hotel gave me a “Jack Daniels” Hoodie sweater that he didn’t want or need. So even I got a little something! I spent the afternoon just keeping my nieces and nephews company and once my brother got out of work, we all had pizza and a shot or two of JD to commemorate the event. After about 11pm I had packed up the car once again and made the two hour drive back to my small abode, where I was instantly smothered in animal fur as my pets all wanted my attention.

My Brother and his family presented me with a laptop computer as a gift. It is used and only has windows ’98 on it, however, it will do just about everything I need it to, and I am more than pleased! I will be using it to continue my writing projects that I have been meaning to finish, as well as a few new projects that have been in the works for a while! I cannot wait to get started on my other writing projects as well as my continuing efforts here at FTTW.

So I was on my way home late last night when I was witness to such erratic driving, that I was sure that the culprit would soon be either arrested, or in a ditch somewhere. Seeing that recently there was an entire special series here on FTTW about cars, I thought I might just ask the question:

“Where did all the DUMBASS drivers come from???”

Now I was raised in, as we all know, a tight knit family. My twin brother and I were both taught how to drive by our folks and our older brother. We both drive well, though I tend to err on the safer and slower side. My brother; however, found that once he got his license, he couldn’t drive fast enough! Up until just a few years ago, riding with my brother was akin to hopping onto a rollercoaster for an hour. But for me I trusted him more than other “crazy drivers” simply because he is a mechanic, or at least he was, before he turned into a car genius. So he knows his motor vehicles inside and out. Usually including velocity, weight, suspension, and brake quality. It never prevented me from “White Knuckling” the dashboard in terror. But I knew that he knew what he was doing.

This is not the case with the crazy people I see on a regular basis. The cars that I see swerve dangerously in and out of lanes of traffic. They fail to use directionals, or if they do, they wait until the very last second to let you know that they are, in fact, going to be taking a right hand turn into oncoming traffic. I myself am a bit guilty of racing a yellow light or two when I am in a rush, but to blow by a stop-sign without even doing the Alicia Silverstone “I Totally Paused!” moment is dangerous. Those four way stops are necessary in order to prevent confusion on the road. If you can’t respect that then you may as well just ride a bicycle recklessly, and save yourself from serious injury.

On my travels the other day I was on the interstate in mid afternoon heading to my brother’s home when I saw a car completely rolled over, about 100 feet off the actual road. And the tracks I could see as I slowly drove past… (Like everyone, I want to see what happened because I’m nosy.) Seemed to indicate that the car somehow lept into the position it now sat into. Causing me to wonder exactly how a car flies off the road, INTO THE AIR, and tilting in such a fashion that it lands on the passenger side, ON A HILLSIDE, in about 4 feet of snow. I saw no obstacle, or obstruction for the car to have hit, nor did there seem to be any ice on the road. However the speed that person must have been traveling at must have been a few miles perhour over the posted: “65 MPH” in order to cause such a mess of aerodynamics, and weight distribution. Even what little I know about aerodynamics and such; I know such an amazing automotive trick is hard to accomplish.

I can say that I have been in an accident or two. I claim fault on only one of those accidents and that is only because that’s what the officer decided based on the logistics if the incident. ofhelper.jpgHad he actually been there, I think he would have been on my end of things. But then that’s the trouble with the police, isn’t it? Once they arrive, everything is now a matter of what they think, regardless of what may have actually happened. The other was when my friend Nick and I were driving to a mutual friends funeral, when we come around a corner and find a vehicle in our lane, heading directly for a small stand of trees to our right hand side. I can only think that the man in the car had fallen asleep. So given the speed that we were traveling at, and the path that this other car was taking, I had to swerve into the left hand lane and go around him. Well that fool woke up just as I was almost around him, and he jerked his car into the lane I was occupying crushing my back bumper and sending Nick and I skidding onto a ditch. Once the car had come to a stop, there was a body check to be sure neither one of us was hurt, then we checked on the other driver. I still never heard his end of the story, but what I do know is that he was at fault, and I made money off of the incident thanks to good insurance, and my almighty brother, the car genius. We never did make it to that funeral…

So please, exercise a little more caution on the road, just because you are a good driver does not mean that everyone else is too. Give those reckless people space on the road as well, you never know when they might just suddenly lose control, and take you with them into accident-ville. May good thoughts guide you in the week to come, and may you find happiness in the little things!

Don’t worry about me, I’m a drag queen, what do I know?

Matthew feels safest on the bus.

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