By Jordan W. Charness

Most of us take driving a car for granted. It’s a convenient way to travel from point A to point B. It’s great for going shopping, going to work and going on vacation. Driving a car is seldom given much more thought than deciding what to watch on television.

When you stop to think about it however, drivers are in charge of a thousand or so kilograms of metal hurtling down the road at speeds that can kill or maim. In most cases nothing seriously bad happens to us when we drive our cars, but a little bit of attention goes a long way towards increasing the safety factor.

Today’s column is not about driving safer. It will serve, however, to illustrate how everything that we do impacts on many other things without our even realizing it. Take this example for instance:

Michael likes to shoot. He shoots pigeons. More specifically, he shoots Clay pigeons with a shotgun at a range specially designed for the sport. He’s actually quite good at it and tries to go out two or three times a week, weather and schedule permitting.

Naturally, he drives to and from the shooting range but leaves his shotgun at the shooting club since he knows that in Canada it is a bit of a chore to obtain a permit that would allow him to transport a firearm. Michael would rather leave the gun in the gun case of the club than drive around with it.

Last week, he decided to fire a few rounds before driving his wife to the airport. She told him not to go since she was sure that he would end up chatting with his buddies and they would end up rushing for the airport. He promised her that this would not be the case and off he went.

True to his word and to his wife’s surprise, he returned punctually to drive her to the airport. Since he woke up somewhat early to go out to the range he was a little tired and decided that it would be safer if his wife drove the car while he kept her company in the passenger seat. That was fine with her.

They arrived at the airport on time and he kissed his wife goodbye and watched her head through security. His wife passed through the metal detectors without a hitch but was then singled out for special treatment and for a full and complete safety search.

When she asked why she had been chosen she was assured that it had been a random computer decision and that she had done nothing wrong. They asked her to take off her shoes and subject herself to a metal sensing wand that was more sensitive than the walk-through metal detectors.

For the last test they rubbed a piece of treated cloth on her clothing and hands and ran it through a machine that checked for gunpowder and explosives. At this point all types of alarms started to go off. Security was hastily called because her inspection had found traces of explosives.

She was once again thoroughly checked and her baggage was pulled out for a special x-ray and search. She insisted that she had not touched explosives, ever, and never came into contact with gunpowder although her husband was an avid Clay pigeons shooter.

Right about there the mystery started to be solved. Michael came forward to explain that his wife had driven his car and he had just returned from the shooting range. It turned out that there was enough gunpowder residue on his hands to transfer to the steering wheel and then to his wife’s hands when she drove the car. That was enough to set off the sensitive sensing equipment. Merely driving her husband’s car caused quite a commotion.

So the next time you borrow a car, be sure that the owner did not leave any illegal substances in the trunk or glove compartment and nothing was shoved under the seats. Although you may be able to eventually explain yourself, driving a car that has a gun in the trunk or cocaine under the seats will certainly cause you more difficulty than any saving you may have by borrowing the car.

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