Pay Attention !!

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Driving Distractions

“I never saw him”.
Thats the first thing that I heard when I stopped to see if anyone needed help.  The not so funny thing is that I saw it coming from where I was.

I was driving my kids to school this morning and while cutting through a neighborhood to avoid some of Houston’s famous morning rush hour traffic, I saw an SUV backing out of a driveway on my left, about six houses away.  There were cars randomly parked on either side of the street and there was a small car coming towards me.  I slowed down a bit to let the oncoming car pull into my lane to avoid a car parked on his side of the road and at the same time I started thinking that the SUV was backing down the driveway fairly quickly.  It was one of those situations that you could just see wasn’t going to turn out too well.  Even my daughter could see the situation unfolding.  “Dad, do you think that car is going to stop or just back into the street?”  Before I had a chance to answer….. there was a collective “ooooh” from the kids, and a loud crunching noise from the two smashed vehicles.

I got out to see if anyone was hurt and thankfully each driver was OK.  However, both cars will be in the shop for a while with LOTS of repair work to be done.   “I never saw him”, “I never saw him”.  Thats all the lady kept saying as if the small car appeared out of no where.

So after we started toward the school again, I began to think of all the obstacles that we have while driving….all the time.  Cars parked on the street, kids darting across the street, cars backing out of driveways, general traffic, people on the phone or texting.  I tried to think of nothing but driving, but you know what…. its a hard thing to do.  I soon found myself listening to the conversation in the back seat, my phone rang, I was wondering why my “check engine” light came on this morning, and before I knew it, I don’t think I was paying too much attention to driving, even after seeing an accident happen.

Its become too much of an instinct.  One hand on the wheel, maybe even a knee, a drink in your lap, kids in the backseat, phones ringing and by taking the same route every morning its become almost a blurr.   Here’s my challenge to you this week…. Try concentrating ONLY on driving while in the car.  Sounds simple enough, but is it?  See how far you go before your mind starts wandering about something else.  I bet each one of us thinks our insticts are enough to get us to our destination.   I would venture to guess that each one of us could use a refresher defensive driving course.  The car that got hit might have avoided the accident if he would have been “Driving Defensively.  The lady backing down her driveway might have avoided an accident if she was paying attention.   Is it too much to admit that we’re not perfect drivers?  I’m not.  I even tried to pay better attention just minutes after witnessing an accident, but I got easily distracted.

A defensive driving course isn’t an admission of being a poor driver, or a necessary evil because we got a ticket, its a smart idea to refresh ourselves about the dangers of driving.  A defensive driving course is a great investment of your time  to avoid the hassles that the two drivers I met this morning will be going through the next couple weeks while the insurance companies and repair shops elevate their blood pressure and take them away from their daily routine.   At the end of the week, if you’ve found yourself thinking of something other than driving, while driving, and you will, I suggest you sign up for a state approved defensive driving course.

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