North Carolina’s Highway Safety Program offers us this advice (or they will ticket us) as part of their “No Need 2 Speed” 2008 campain:
· Drivers – Take 5 seconds to come to a complete stop at crosswalks to let pedestrians cross safely.
· Pedestrians – Take 5 seconds to make sure drivers have seen you and are stopped before stepping into the roadway.
So, when it comes to vehicles or pedestrians, generally I’m a ‘they’ll get out of the way’ kind of person. It means nothing to me, while walking on campus across a designated cross walk, to step into the safe white painted lines with a massive Yukon barreling at me. I’ve got the right of way, and they’ll stop. I haven’t been run over yet. It’s the same thing when I drive. If a person is heading toward a crosswalk and I am too, nine times out of ten it’s a race to see who can get across first.
Basically, I’m the pedestrian every driver hates, the one who is asking to be plowed into, the one I myself chase down in road rage and shout obscenities at when I drive. That said, I’ve never actually hit anyone. I almost did once, actually, and it was the one time it would have been an honest accident, since most days I pull out of my apartment complex hoping today will be the lucky day I run over one of the idiots.
I was at Mayfaire one night dropping off a few friends to save us all seats for I Am Legend, when, once they were out of the car, I automatically left off the brake – right into the crosswalk. Whoops. As a dad ready to hulk my car (with me in it) into moving traffic (even I could appreciate the irony if he were to do that) one handed lifts his little boy out of the way. Of course, I am compassionate. I felt terrible and had that mommy instinct where I wanted to scoop the boy up and my voice went all high and funny and I forgot to start driving again.
However, recently I think I solidified my oh-God-it’s-one-of-those-drivers reputation. I insist it’s not because I’m a girl, that this is no case of female driving. Female drivers – according to male stereotypes, anyway – just can’t drive; I take a particular glee in driving like a maniac.
So anyone who’s ever been on our campus when it rains, knows that you literally wade through some parts. The flooding is ridiculous and I could write a post in itself about poor planning and not enough drainage, but I digress. Anyway, it was good fun freshman year swimming down the sidewalk and taking a picture with a car up to its mirrors in water.
But this Friday, I was not swimming through it, I was driving – really a whole different playground. As I’m driving (cautiously, might I add) down the street through the ‘puddles,’ the car in front of me swerved into the other lane to avoid missing one that was especially deep. I kept cruising along, same speed and – since another car was coming from another direction – in the same lane. Nothing I could do. I fly right through this thing, and let me tell you, it was like Sumatra [=(].
This massive tidal wave sprays outward from the car, flies through the air as this mass of water, and – I kid you not – twenty feet away I see this unsuspecting girl ducking for a half second before the whole thing landed on her. And I nearly ran my car off the road into her laughing so hard. I felt bad, but it was raining anyway and she had to have already been wet.
Anyway, I write all this to say I finally got my little car back. It has faithfully started about nine times for me, and we are very happy together. And now the university is stepping up its ticketing for a week, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled, as they say, for crazy drivers and those nasty tickers.