Q Tell Bob Sutis that I really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek listing of his purported bad driving habits. He managed to list every one of my road rage-inducing pet peeves, but at least this time I was able to laugh about it.
Q I think everyone is missing Bob Sutis' sarcasm. At least I hope it is sarcasm.
A Bob was the star of Roadshow's two-day series on drivers admitting sins behind the wheel. But were you trying to be funny, Bob? If so, call me Charlie Tuna, for I swallowed it hook, line and sinker.
Q Yes, I was attempting to be humorous while pointing to some habits that many have that are irritating. Did I misfire and do a bad thing?
A I grant you dispensation for duping Roadshow.
Q Oh, thank goodness. You scared me. I didn't want to be blackballed from your column.
A Now on to a few other driving sins.
Q I used to have a really bad driving habit but didn't realize it until I rear-ended my boss.
I was leaving work on a Friday looking forward to a camping vacation on Vancouver Island. My boss was ahead of me, waiting to turn right onto Stevens Creek Boulevard. He started to go but then stopped because of a car making a U-turn. After he took off, my attention turned to traffic coming from my left and I never turned back to see him stopped so I hit him pretty good. God, was I embarrassed. It's bad enough rear-ending a stranger, but your boss?
Lesson learned: ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS look right before turning right. By the time you establish that traffic is clear on your left there may be a pedestrian or a jogger or perhaps an idiot riding his bicycle against traffic coming up on your right.
A And ...
Q In 1999 I drove from the Denver airport to Greeley for a wedding, my wife dozing in the passenger seat. It was a 15-mile drive on a rural two-lane highway where you can see miles ahead.
Impatient with the slower driver in the Toyota ahead, and seeing plenty of empty road, I crossed into the other lane to pass. It took longer than I had expected, as I misjudged how fast my rental car could accelerate. The westbound vehicle that had been far in the distance was approaching fast, and I was still alongside the Toyota.
In a panic, I realized that I did not have enough time to return back behind the Toyota. My only option was to floor the accelerator, which further reduced the distance to impact, but allowed me to clear the slower car and swerve back into the eastbound lane a split second before the westbound car sped past.
In the past 15 years my mind has wandered occasionally back to that fateful day when I risked several lives in order to gain a couple of minutes. I think of all the events and celebrations that we would have missed. Our daughter would never been born. Nowadays, when I find myself impatient in the driver's seat, I pause and remind myself -- it's not worth the risk.
And my wife, who had been asleep, remained blissfully unaware of the tragedy that was narrowly avoided until a recent morning when I shared the story.
A Scary indeed.