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Monday, August 22, 2005

Another driver who ( hopefully) learned his lesson

I saw this story on Car Talk. Luckily, besides totalling his vehicle, this guy only hurt his own pride. It just goes to show people that having a " wealth of stupidity" doesn't keep you out of trouble. It is amazing that nobody got killed in this incident. Here is the story.

Funny you should mention anti-talking-on-the-cell-phone-while driving. I could be your poster boy. The scene: I am driving home from Connecticut, where I worked, to Vermont, where I lived, on a Friday afternoon. I'm doing 80 on I-89, just north of Exit 3, Bethel.

It's about 4:45; I call my house in Vermont to get the messages off the answering machine. Lo and behold, one is from a realtor in New Fairfield, CT, where we were thinking of buying a home. So I get the number and start the tedious dialing process to make the call. I'm traveling, at 80 mph (cruise control—a wonderful invention) in the passing lane, dialing my Nokia cell phone, when I notice the car has drifted slightly to the left, so I jerk it back onto the road.

Ever hear of "confluence of events"? This particular stretch of I-89 has a rather narrow shoulder on the left, one that also drops rather precipitously. This confluence caused the car—a 1993 VW Passat—to flip toward the driver's side. As the car is about to go over, I'm thinking, Man! I'm gonna ruin the side. After that, I guess I lost my orientation, but I'm sure it made quite a sight for the folks behind me as I did two complete flips and landed—upright—in the spacious center median.

Fortunately the VW took the brunt of the impact, and I would have been able to walk away, had I been allowed. Instead, I got a nice ride in an ambulance to Gifford Medical Center, where my lack of injury and wealth of stupidity were confirmed.

Cell phones suck. Or, more accurately, people who use cell phones while driving a potentially lethal weapon suck. And I did. I plead guilty. Obviously, the car was totaled. And I like to think this red Passat got its vengeance on me when, on Monday, on my way back to my job in Connecticut, it allowed me to smack my head full force into the top of the car into which I was attempting to sit in order to remove the CD player. Ear swelled up like a cauliflower. Purple and red and black. Pretty colorful. And I thought I heard it say to me, through the ringing in my cauliflower ear, "You jerk! You did this to me!"

Les Szabo

Well Les, I think that the moral of this story is to keep your mind on the road. Too many people never learn this. And I see more people doing this. Because they are in their own cars, these people think that they can do whatever they want. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some just have to learn the hard way. Even then the lesson sometimes is not learned.


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