Thursday, February 05, 2009

Trained Instinct?

Is that an oxymoron?

If you are ever in a car, and this car is headed for the edge of a cliff, and you have the option of letting the car explode 100 feet from the edge or not, I recommend that you prevent the explosion and hope to grab the steering wheel to redirect it in the remaining 100 feet.

Today I was driving in rush hour. I almost made a green light for a left turn, but the turn arrow expired just as I reached the intersection, and I waited. It was one of those excellent but endangered lights that retains my legal right to turn on a green light if the oncoming traffic has a large enough break. But there wasn't one. So I waited. And finally after my red light, the turn arrow came back and I sped into my curve, considering those behind me who were sitting in a long, hopeless line of cars. The road was a bit narrow, and cars filled the other side of the road. I only saw her as I finished the 90 degree transition. Perpendicular to my car was a lone woman, mid-road, her car stretching across three lanes of my path. I slammed on my brakes.

She had crossed a double yellow line to turn out of a left-turn-only lane, two car-lengths behind her red light. Her attempt was to escape the traffic and enter the opposite parking lot to turn around.

I waited for her, scarcely giving thought to traffic behind me. For a split second we had made eye contact, and she sheepishly proceeded into the parking lot, as if she had just read in my face the foolishness of her decision. (Double yellow lines are a clue to this. Don't cross them!)

Driving on up the road, praising God for preventing an accident, I pondered what-if's. Really in the moment I put on my brakes I was making a decision. I was trusting the people behind me to slow down or go around or to be slow enough in their turn to give time to smoothe out the wrinkles the other driver created. It was not impossible or even unlikely that a car behind me would run into me.

Even though this decision did not present itself as such at the time, afterward I realized that stopping was still my best choice. T-boning another car is probably a lot more harmful than getting rear-ended (though I have a lot of stuff in my trunk that I would rather not get scrunched). But how do you prepare your instincts for a split-second decision, to do the best thing?

To God be all glory.

3 comments:

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Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thank you. Did you subscribe?
To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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