BANG! It was as loud as the crack of the .357 magnum I heard being fired at the gun range last night, however it was the sound of my Jeep’s driver’s side mirror being smashed.
Several seconds earlier I noticed the yellow Hummer H2 barreling toward me, left-side mirror, tires, headlight, and driver taking up my half of the road, yet I wasn’t too concerned. After all, cars straddling the centerline of a relatively narrow thoroughfare is commonplace. You see Greenleaf is an ordinary residential street where passenger cars, garbage trucks, flatbed landscaping vehicles, the occasional Hollywood film crew wagon, and pedestrians including school-kids engage in a daily dance of neighborly goodwill. The choreography includes everyone carefully sidling up to cars parked street-side which ensures safe shoulder to shoulder roadway passage for all. Almost.
Just having rolled over a speed bump, and traveling under 20 mph, I pulled to the right as far as possible to offer the speeding SUV greater leeway. Since rules of the road are founded on motorist cooperation, and because my experience with head to head interface on this same road supports that understanding, I’ve come to expect mutual consideration. Until today. Despite plenty of space on its right, the Hummer refused to steer clear.
Fortunately for me, and lucky for the other driver, my soft-top door window was unzipped and folded open at an angle such that it shielded my face from the flying mirror glass that sprayed into my Jeep from the impact. Happily there was a witness present to correct the distorted, defensive account of the woman carelessly driving the Hummer. “No,” said the witness to the guilty woman, “he was going kinda slow. You were going kinda fast.”
Sure, insurance companies will sort it out, and hers will buy me a new mirror, but such property damage is inconsequential. What matters here is attitude. Sadly, the buffer provided by her auto insurance company, her husband the lawyer, and her Hummer H2— at more than three tons and over 9 feet wide, including mirrors— will likely keep her insulated from the effects of her blithe behavior.
My dear uncle Bob used to say that driving a car is like holding a loaded handgun— both can be deadly weapons. But, who’s more dangerous: the intentional shooter, or the oblivious driver?