Stop Driving So Close to Everyone!

I am lucky that I can travel along with Mr. Basketmaker to his many workshops around the country, yet still be able to continue my freelance work. I have a nice little setup in the back of our minivan and I work away. (Yes, we drive a minivan — so “uncool” for a hip childless couple such as ourselves… but that’s a story for another day.)

Nevertheless, there is a downside in having to travel on our American highways today — people drive way too fast , too distracted and too close to the car in front of them! And because of this, we frequently experience long traffic backups. And even more disheartening is when we are not far behind from when the accident happened and unfortunately see the terrible aftermath.

Last year, we saw a dreadful fatal wreck involving a motorcycle driver. I wish I never looked. You never get that image out of your head. And then yesterday afternoon, while returning home from Houston on an Alabama highway, we were stuck in traffic again. And we were not too far behind the accident site since we were close to the last exit before the standstill.

We moved to the right lane and got off at the ramp and on up to the lights at the top of the overpass. We thought we would simply take a back road and get to the next exit however the accident seemed to be right below and  traffic was routing back onto the highway, in front of the scene. So that meant we were going to see it. And we did. It was another horrific accident with a fatality. The body was laying right on the side of the road and it was covered except for her arm. I could see the gold ring on her finger. It literally broke my heart.

Today, I was able to look up on the internet and find out that she was a 48-year-old woman. She was traveling the same direction we were, northwest. A tow truck with a large bed carrying one car on the platform and towing another car behind, was on the other side of the highway, traveling southeast. This driver of the very large truck either was following too close, driving too fast or not paying attention because he swerved to avoid an accident in the lanes on his side of the highway and lost control and hit the victim’s car, going northwest, head on and pushed her into a semi-truck and then into an SUV. She died instantly.

As we went on our way, I reminded of the accident last year involving my old college roommate. She was in an intersection as a passenger with one of her co-workers and a semi-truck ran a red light and plowed into them. He killed them both. She was only 44, married with two young children.

If only all of these vehicle operators were not driving so fast, were paying attention one hundred percent and were not following each other so closely! Chain reaction crashes can be avoided if we all put distance between us! We see it all the time when we travel — cars within seconds of your bumper. How could they stop if you suddenly slammed on your breaks? The answer is they cannot.

I told Mr. Basketmaker that as a society, we really need to get the message out about how a life can be gone instantly because of inattention and impatience. The solution to get this message out, I don’t know. But I do follow far behind cars and also I do not drive as fast as I used to because of what I have seen on our highways. And I hope anyone who reads this will do the same.

Remember the little picture you saw when you took driver’s ed class so many (many, many) years ago? I decided to change it from the 2-second rule to a 3-Second rule! We really all should be traveling no less than 3 seconds behind the vehicle in front us! Please send to everyone you know who drives…


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