There is rarely a time as a pedestrian that I feel one hundred percent safe. Crossing the street, I tend to walk very fast, sometimes almost run to get to the other side. My friends will laugh at me and ask me why I’m in such a rush to get across and comment on how I won’t get hit and so on. Well I’ll tell you why I’m in such rush to cross the street and why even just walking on the sidewalk can make me anxious. Tonight, I was reminded of the reasons I’m so paranoid.
It doesn’t take a responsible person or a genius to get a driver’s license. I noticed, and I do somewhat talk for myself as well, that during drivers ed and during your driving test, we drive so carefully and obey the rules to T, and as soon as we are off on our own it’s like we forget everything we learned about shoulder checks and the laws that are put in place for everyone else’s safety. You see people driving thirty kilometres an hour over the speed limit, speeding through yellow lights when they could have stopped, making illegal u-turns and passing, people changing lanes with hardly any space to do so and so on. Do people not care about these risks?
I have three little anecdotes here that have happened in the last three days, two of them being today that are pertinent to this whole “Idiots behind the wheel” concept.
The first anecdote was just a couple of nights ago. It was late and my boyfriend and a few of his friends and I were going out to a lookout where you could see the city lights and the stars shone bright since we were away from the brightness of the city. Yes, it was very beautiful when we got there, but I didn’t think it was worth the major anxiety I felt on the entire car ride there. Our friend isn’t exactly the most responsible driver. When it’s just me and his girlfriend in the car, he drives fast but not too much over the limit and is still fairly safe. But as soon as you put the other guys in the car, he becomes rather reckless. I never feel comfortable being in the car at night time or when the driver is going very fast… And this scenario included both. To get to this lookout, you need to go through the woods, where there are obviously no streetlights. To make things worse, the driver in front of us was also driving recklessly and my friend decided to speed up very close behind him and the other driver was often tapping on the breaks, probably to freak us out. I was in the backseat asking my friend to stop, as was my boyfriend and he just would not listen. My boyfriend grabbed him by the shoulder (in a safe way, as we were still moving) and made him smarten up. That made him realize how freaked out I was, so he tried his very best to drive more responsibly. People don’t realize it, but it takes only a second for something to go very wrong. Even the best drivers can get in accidents, and freak accidents do happen, even if we don’t think we could ever be involved in them. It’s better to take more time to get somewhere, than to risk your life just to be there five minutes earlier.
My second anecdote was actually while I was sitting indoors and getting distracted by the outdoors. There’s a spot on campus that I like to sit in before one of my classes that is on the second floor and there’s a big window where you can see one of the major streets. You can see cars driving by and a TON of students walk past. It’s a very nice spot, but rather distracting. So as I’m sitting there trying to do my reading, I stare outside and see the cars lined up at the light. One of the drivers stood out to me. This lady appeared to be applying makeup on in the car and afterwards texting, with both her hands, and seeming to be completely focused on her phone. Even if you are stopped, you really shouldn’t be doing anything but focusing on the road and the cars ahead. I was just shocked of this recklessness.
Lastly, this is was has inspired me to write this post as I am still furious about this, I almost got hit by a car crossing the street tonight. I will say this off the bat… I was NOT J-walking or walking across while the light was counting down. It was my turn to cross and I still had plenty of time. I was walking in the designated crossing zone, and the street was fairly well lit. Here I was, crossing, not too worried and out of no where a car turns about two metres right in front of me! I practically stop in the middle of the cross walk and look at the driver in shock and I didn’t quite have time to see and know for sure, but the driver either flashed me the middle finger or gave me a thumbs up. Well I think it’s pretty much safe to say he gave me the finger. Like what? How was this presumably my fault? If I had been walking just a little faster or he had come two seconds later, I would have gotten hit for sure! I was so freaked out and just angry! I didn’t have time to react. I’m still a little shaken up. I’m honestly just glad I didn’t get hurt.
It worries me to think of how many stupid drivers are on the road right now. Wouldn’t it be good to have driver’s take tests every couple of years? People go such long time without getting tests and in that time their driving abilities worsen and get more careless. At least this way, they’d have to keep the responsible habits alive to be able to renew their license.
This is why I get so paranoid crossing the street and even just walking on the sidewalk. Because in many passing cars, there are just idiots behind the wheel.