Loose nuts behind the steering wheel
Jan 03, 2012 | 1789 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
As an unconfirmed but oft-repeated story goes, many years ago, in the late 19th century, four automobiles were known to exist in the United States – and two of them collided with each other.

And so the die was cast.

No. 2 on last week’s Tribune-Courier list of top 10 news stories of 2011 was the dangerous U.S. Highway 68 and Moors Camp Highway, which were all too often in the news because of traffic accidents, many of them fatal or causing serious injury and at least two leading to felony indictments.

Bad as it was, tragic as the loss of life and other consequences were, the miracle is that there are not more accidents, more fatalities and more injuries, on all public thoroughfares.

Go ahead – just try to get through one week without some arrogant, aggressive, impatient idiot all but bumping you out of his way or passing you in a no-passing zone.

Bad drivers seldom get what they deserve.

Ride my rear bumper, and you deserve to have your reflexes checked when I give my antilock brakes a rigorous test.

Pass me on a yellow line, and you deserve to be hip-checked into the ditch on driver’s left, or hooked into a spinout as you blast past my left front fender.

Unlike the jerks who cause me to have such fantasies, I realize the potential consequences if I were to give in to the urge, not just for the deserving dimwit but for myself and innocent bystanders.

Instead, my tendency when being tailgated is to gradually slow down. The slower we go, the smaller the impact from a collision.

And whenever someone passes me in a no-passing zone, I slow down to allow them to complete the illegal and ill-advised maneuver and get back in the lane where they belong.

Public safety officials can rail all they want about driving while distracted or impaired. But the biggest distraction and the greatest impairment of all is impatience, aggressiveness and the attitude that the highway is one driver’s private property and he is master of that universe.

Way too many nowadays are saddled with that attitude. Watch out for vehicles with steering wheels that are being held by loose nuts and protect yourself by driving defensively and accommodating their recklessness and stupidity as best you can.

It’s an unfortunate coincidence that you’ll be protecting them from themselves, but go ahead and do it anyway.
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