Recently the area in which I reside had experienced this seasons first significant snowfall. Shoveled a lot more of it than I cared to as well. With a significant amount of snowfall comes the bad driving conditions because even when at full turn out levels the state/county/city plow trucks wont be able to keep up. Inevitably, this will result in accidents because there’s always the guy who has to be on the road and in a hurry. As my paint and body guy says, “winter will always keep me in business.”
As I drive from point A to B now I will see at least one person driving around with some form of damage. I understand that the body garage is backed up with work or more likely you have to wait for the part(s) to show up. I get it, I’ve been there. What I don’t get though, is why anyone would think that driving around with a bumper or quarter panel barely hanging on is a good idea. When my truck was damaged and I had to wait a couple of days for replacement pieces to show up I removed part of the front end. Let me explain why.
Vehicle manufacturers go through extensive research in order to develop aerodynamics into their products. Once you compromise the outline or contour of the vehicle you sacrifice that aerodynamic flow and as a result the performance of the vehicle as well. Removing the damaged part will help restore some of that aerodynamic flow. Leaving the damaged part on the vehicle to potentially flap around while you drive is as good as having up to 20% of your breaks applied while driving. I could pontificate further about the wear and tear that is being exacted on your vehicle as a result of this, but I have other points to make.
Let’s meow examine this from a safety stand point. The DOT of the state in which I currently reside says that the damaged piece only has to be secured to the vehicle. It does not define by the manner in which it has to be secured. I have seen everything from tie downs, zip ties, duct tape, come-alongs, and bungee cords being used to secure damaged pieces. This is a bunch of BS. Most of the time the damaged piece is improperly “secured” or the means by which it is being held quickly breaks itself and the driver of said vehicle is either igornant of the danger the are now to other motorists or just don’t give a damn.
Honestly I could care less if you want to screw up the performance of your own vehicle. That’s on you. Where I do take umbrage is when people drive around with something that equates to a drag chute barely hanging onto the vehicle. There is now the possibility that it could break off and at the minimum cause damage to my vehicle, but also cause an accident and injury to myself, any passenger I may have with me, and other motorists and their passengers as well. What I would like to see happen more often is police officers pulling these shmucks over and issuing them a safety violation similar to how they do to people who ignore a burnt out headlight.
Occasionally when I am partnered with my stores staff pharmacist we get into some interesting conversations. It normally ends with one of us going ” never really thought of it that way”. We’ve been working together for over a decade so our conversations either end up in the realm of philosophical, bizarre, or life lessons. Today’s conversation ended up in the life lessons category.
Among the litany of things parents teach their children don’t talk to or take candy from strangers being near the top I would think. We are also taught not to eat a ton of candy, go into strange places, or go running amuck like the hooligans we are through the neighborhood especially at night.
Yet, when Halloween comes around the youth of America dawns their various costumes and these rules go right out the window for the night. Not that anything truly bad happens on Halloween night. There are always parents roaming the neighborhoods watching their own children and the rest of the neighborhoods youngins as well. Everyone also knows enough to stay from crazy old man Jenkins’s house.
I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade here just one of those things that made me go, “oh yeah”.
So today I witnessed what was almost a really bad accident. Let me explain…
After leaving the restaurant we had dinner with my parents at I was in line behind a car that had their lights off yet. I didn’t think much of it as some people just don’t turn their lights on until they merge into traffic. I don’t get that and I think its a bad idea, but whatever. However, as we stopped at the next light the lights had not come on yet So I flashed my high beams at them.
We continue on in traffic and at least half a dozen cars in the opposing lanes flash their lights at them as well. During the transit to the turn to get on the highway I would see the driver turn on their map light in the vehicle and fidget with their GPS or phone. Now I know their not from the area and are trying to figure out where they are going.
So as we get to the turn said car in front of me proceeds to make it and heads down the exit side of the ramp instead of the entrance side. The only reason there wasn’t an accident is because there were no cars exiting from the highway and no one exited until the idiot driver had turned themselves around.
I think they got the clue when they had a whole line of cars honking at them. At no point in time before I exited the area did their lights come on.
The moral of the story here is to pay attention to what the hell you are doing especially when you are in an area unfamiliar to you. There is zero excuse to not be using a mandatory safety feature of your vehicle especially when other peoples lives are at stake.
Somewhere in the last month or so while driving home from a team training I had someone decide that they needed to throw me the bird (see middle finger) in response to me honking at them. Normally I could care less, but I wrote my experience down that day and figured I would return to the thought at another time much like I am now. Let me run through the story and explain why it wasn’t warranted.
While waiting for the light to cycle to green I try and pay attention to traffic around me just to see if even when the light turns green I’m going to have to wait an extra second before proceeding myself because some other motorist is going to run the red so they don’t have to wait another cycle. There are some fairly impatient people out there. I was not first in line at the light, but having a good situational awareness while driving I consider mandatory. (See Jedi Powers) In this situation that would not be occurring at the light as the flow of traffic crossing in front of us cleared quickly and there was a decent delay between the red and the change to green on our side.
Now as a courtesy to the person leading the line I’ll give you a three Mississippi before I start honking to motivate you into moving unless I know it is a badly timed light then there is not a blessed thing I can do and will achieve nothing with the honk. In this instance there was ample timing and the three Mississippi had passed so a quick honk was issued and sure enough the driver in front of me started moving. I thought for sure that would have been the end of the exchange between me and the car in front, but I would be wrong.
For whatever reason the passenger of said vehicle took it upon themselves to roll their window down and throw me the bird. I drive a full sized pickup truck and have a height advantage over the Volvo in front of me so I had a clear enough view over the top and could see that there was no reason for the delay. If Wild West justice was still applicable I would be justified to shoot through the windshield and put a round through his hand for an unjustified insult. Since we don’t live in that era I’ll have to settle for complaining on here.