Thursday, December 13, 2012

Patience While Driving, Please

I used to teach cognitively impaired teenagers and young adults to cross the street. Well, I hope I taught them a lot of other things, too, but street-crossing was on the list.

We would venture out and learn this skill in the natural environment. Learn by doing. So, we crossed a lot of streets. At corners, at lights, in crosswalks.

Crosswalks could be an interesting experience, actually. At times a car would politely stop for us. My student, sometimes in leg braces or a wheelchair, would start confidently across.

And then a car would pull around and go past in front of them. Or maybe stop just short of the crosswalk. Apparently, they thought the car in front of them was stopped for no reason and they could just go. Or they were in a hurry and not thinking at all. Impatient, they just went.

This became my mantra: "Cars do not always do what they are supposed to do."

I used that mantra while teaching my son street safety as well. Recently, we had a demonstration.

We were coming out of the library. At the nearby crosswalk, an elderly couple was slowly crossing the street in front of a stopped car. The driver behind got impatient, failed to look, pulled out and hit the man sending him flying into the air.

At the sound of the woman's screams, my attention was called to the event, my old lifeguard training kicked in and I ran to the scene. I was beaten to the spot by an off-duty fire fighter who attended to the gentleman. I handled the onlookers, getting them to move away. The driver who had done the hitting remained on scene and the police spoke to him when they arrived. At that point, Jordan and I left.

But all the way home we talked about drivers that don't wait, cars that don't do what they are supposed to do.

Please, when you are driving out there, have patience. Remember that car in front of you is probably stopped for a reason. Be mindful of crosswalks and walk lights. Think how you'd feel if you hit someone.

Have you ever witnessed an accident or 
near accident caused by impatient driving?


  1. Wow I think we all need this reminder. In the hustle and bustle it is easy to get off guard, but something like this is something you never forget!

    1. Yeah... It's too easy to forget that cars are potentially deadly things and to focus on what we need to get done. This was a wake up call for me.

  2. How scary and terrible! I've been in cars with a fair share of impatient drivers, but I like driving so much that I usually go slower than I need to because it prolongs the trip. Its great that you rushed to the scene, both as a humanitarian, and as a way to teach Jordan how to care for other people.

    1. I was a lifeguard for years, so my response was almost automatic. Plenty of people wanted to help, but just didn't know what to do. I hope Jordan remembers that I went to to help, rather than that I left him. He did seem genuinely concerned about the man. I am also glad that someone else was there first. I need to update my first aid skills.

      It was scary, and it also made me think of all those other "near misses"

  3. Wow! My heart goes out to this couple. I hope he survived. So many times, I'm stopped and I hear a beep. I think to myself, "I'm obviously stopped for a reason." Sometimes it's for on coming traffic that must be in the blind spot of cars behind me. Sometimes it's for pedestrians. I'm thankful that I've never had to witness this. Let's all be more patient, slow down and think of other drivers as our team mates. If someone is slowing down or is stopped, wonder why. Let's have each other's back out there:-)

    1. Yes, let's have each other's back!

      I believe the gentleman survived. He was speaking as he was being tended. The paper reported only that he was "taken to the hospital with injuries."