I was coming down the 680 Southbound, just outside of Walnut Creek heading into Danville. It was rush hour traffic, but reverse commute. Danville always seems to back up a bit. As expected, I hit some stop and go. I braked accordingly and was pleased to see the small red Honda behind me do the same. Then I looked at the traffic behind her. The white SUV was coming full speed and I realized, we are in BIG trouble. The white SUV hit the little red Honda who then plowed into the back of my VW Touraug. We slowly made our way through traffic to the far right side of the road. I carried the Honda who was attached under my back bumper for a spell. The white SUV’s airbags deployed, the girl in the red Honda appeared to be fine but was incoherent with shock. Mine was the only car drivable.
I can’t prove it, but given what I witnessed in my rearview mirror the white SUV was most likely in some way on her phone. She never saw the accident coming. The fact that the 24 year old college student in the red Honda walked away from the accident in her COMPLETELY TOTALLED car was a freaking miracle.
For the last six months I commute literally two hours a day. One hour to Fairfield and one hour back to Livermore on a good day when everyone appears to have their heads on straight behind the wheels of their car.
I have spent the last four weeks in a rental car. My VW didn’t appear to be terribly wounded; yet, was totaled by the insurance adjuster. Did I mention the insurance company for the white SUV was really crappy? The woman in the white SUV was driving for work, so everything was handled through her work insurance. They were slow to respond, completely unreachable and dared to suggest HOW I should handle myself, my wrecked car and my rental. Nothing like aggravating an inconvenienced person – I ain’t got time for this.
Meanwhile, I continue to drive my two-hour commute. For the record, I love the company I am currently working for. I wouldn’t do the commute if I didn’t. It’s a pleasure to be there and during my commute I find people to talk to on my headset and am still trying to coordinate audibles for book audio reading. I’m not adverse to the commute.
However, I am now terrified. I watch out my windshield, my side mirrors, my rearview mirror regularly. Prior to this last accident, I cannot profess to have been a completely hands-free driver, even though IT IS THE LAW in California. I got better with my youngest son in the car who strongly informed me 3 years ago to leave my phone down because he didn’t feel safe. He was right. It’s still hard to drive hands-free when you have to dial a phone number in a car that is not designed to autodial. Not to mention trying to hook up Pandora. That being said, I am a totally recovered lawbreaker.
Please know that I don’t mean this blog to be political, but I think it speaks volumes if you think of every American in the United Stated behind the wheel.
Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Kaepernick, Atlanta, Texas, Oakland, Florida. People on their one knee. Let me ask you a question. How are these people when they are behind the wheel of their own car?
The black home girl in her white AWD and mini-fro who was facetiming on the 680 Eastbound through Walnut Creek, tailgating, switching lanes and exceeding speed risking multiple lives.
The Mexican gentlemen probably less than a mile from his home through town in Livermore who was rolling a joint at the stoplight off of the 84 on Friday at approximately 5:30 pm.
The white looking middle aged nerd driving an older Toyota 4-wheel drive, his cell phone in his left hand, his vaper in his right with no hands on the steering wheel. The dad who almost took me out in a suburban neighborhood picking my son up for school because he was focused on making a call while turning the corner.
The teen of any color smiling at their crotch on their way to school. The senior student who totals their brand-new car down the East Avenue in Livermore because they were texting. The soccer mom and grandma I pass who are not hands free heading down the freeway.
The idiot technicians on the phone, driving 90 miles an hour over the Benicia bridge, passing unsafely through traffic with their 1-800-HOWISMYDRIVING. Let me tell you – You’re screwed.
The woman I saw the other day in her car in the parking lot of Target smoking with her children in the car.
I hope you get the point. I could give you example after example after example as my anxiety increases during my commute time.
So after having my car totaled by a woman who suggested that HER car was hit from behind (when there wasn’t even a SMUDGE or an additional car who pulled over), I would like to introduce you to my new friend, Minnie Pearl (Pearl named after her color). She is a 2014 Subaru Outback.
Everyone said, “get a hybrid, go for the gas mileage, get into the HOV lane”. My Minnie – she’s going to get me home safely with legitimate gas mileage. Her updates make me completely hands-free with the addition of letting me know when changing lanes and backing up is not safe. But please know this, my Minnie can go from Minnie to Christine in 2.5 seconds flat. I am past the days of feeling comfortable flipping complete strangers The Bird. I can’t do road rage – it’s just a stupid thing to do with the unpredictability in the world. However – If you hit My Minnie, you best hope you weren’t on your phone, vaping, smoking pot, speeding, weaving, and acting like a general asshole. Next time, I will subpoena your phone log and I will press charges. Life is too short. I expect to live until a grumpy old age of 100 with my BF and drive my three children freaking crazy in the interim. They expect this of me and I can’t disappoint them.
To all of you on the road (and we are ALL on the road), before you drop to one knee, before you protest for ANY lives, before you throw stones and place judgment, before you challenge a cop or a minority – I ask you this… When you drive your car – do you drive like YOUR life matters, or your PASSENGER’S life matters or the OTHER DRIVERS you weave around, exceeding speeds, on your phone, vaping, smoking pot, tailgating. For those who know me well, I haven’t even touched on the high school, junior high, elementary school pick up. You can take your own self there.
PUT YOUR LIFE FIRST, PUT YOUR PASSENGER’S LIFE FIRST, PUT THE PEOPLE YOU SHARE THE ROAD WITH FIRST. ALL LIVES MATTER.