By Jordan W. Charness
I hate this time of year: the lovely lazy warm hazy days of summer are retreating faster than a bunny rabbit chased by a dog. Every day we lose more sunshine, as it gets darker earlier and stays dark longer. The weather gets colder, wetter and rainier. Oh, and I almost got killed today!
It had been a very long day, in which it seemed I had to cram three days worth of work into one. Although the day started out sunny, by the time noon had rolled around it was cloudy; the clouds rapidly turned to drizzle and the drizzle to heavy rain. Naturally, my umbrella was at home and it was too early to break out the winter rubbers. I hate it when my feet get wet right through my shoes, which seem to be made from some kind of Spanish sponge leather that can outperform the Sham Wow product they push on TV! My shoes can suck up a puddle in two seconds flat.
By the time I left work it was already dark, cold and rainy, yet only seven o’clock. The only bright side seemed to be that it was cold enough this morning to entice me into wearing my theoretically waterproof spring and fall coat. It is stylish, looks nice, and is reasonably comfortable. It is also jet black, which may have been the cause of my close brush with death.
On foot, I stopped at a corner that had four-way stop signs. I carefully looked both ways before crossing the street and noted that the car across the intersection had also come to a full stop prior to my setting foot into the intersection. Knowing that according to law I had the right of way and that the car had come to a full stop I began to cross the street.
To my surprise, shock and horror the car that had just recently stopped immediately began to go and was aimed directly at me. I actually had to run forward to get out of his way. Getting out of his way put me in the path of another car that was coming in the opposite direction and did not expect me to begin running across the street. He jammed on his brakes and I realized how lucky I had been in escaping death not once but twice in two seconds.
Once I got to my car a little shaken I reviewed the incident in my mind. I definitely had the right of way since in general pedestrians who are obeying the law have right-of-way over cars. The driver of the first car had come to a full stop but either did not see me or failed to actually look around when he came to a stop. If he had hit me I would have been dead… but in the right, which was cold comfort.
It then occurred to me that my black coat covering my dark suit and the black hat I was wearing probably made me all but invisible in the dark silhouetted against the water-slicked streets. The driver was not yet used to the early-hour darkness and was still in summer driving-home-from-work mode. He was probably as miserable as I was about the cold rainy weather and was not paying full attention.
This time of year, drivers need to adjust their driving habits and pay more attention to the road around them. Pedestrians need to realize that if they aren’t visible, being right will not protect them from being hit by a car. It’s time to snap our minds out of the summer and face the long cold winter ahead. But hey… it’s just a few months until spring!