Posts Tagged ‘Driving and Safety’

sign downhill slope carI am only discombobulated when confronted with threats to life and limb.

I must tell you I blame husband, Bill and good friend, Norma who are both probably responsible for yesterday’s tortuous  journey.

On the way back from Lexington, Virginia I noticed a flashing light on the dash.  It was an insistent throbbing warning light with the image of a car going down a very steep hill!  Yikes! I wasn’t even ON a hill!

 In a real panic, I pulled into the first logical parking lot

which happened to be at our local funeral home. 

Was the car DYING

A funeral home parking lot would be an ironic resting place.

Were the brakes shot?

Was I doomed to crash at the bottom of some bottomless precipice?  

Should I drive all the way home?

 I consulted the auto’s Information Manual.  Nothing.

I turned the car off.  The flashing image disappeared.

 I turned it on.  The flashing image re-appeared.

Having made perfect sense of the on-off thing,

 I moved the clutch up and down to different places.   No change there either.

With no other options, and in a breathless state of irrational fear, I made the shaking decision to drive on home.

  There is an explanation here if you will just stick around a little longer.  Really.

It begins with Bill (who I blame for everything of course).  He keeps a car oiled and inspected, but he doesn’t really care about keeping it pristine.

I try to ignore  dust on the dashboard, and pebbles, paper, and bits of junk on the floor, but eventually I disintegrate into obsessive compulsive behavior.  The obsession magnifies, especially if I will be the driver for the next outing with friend, Norma.

I do always blame Bill for everything of course, but for this incident I also blame Norma (who doesn’t yet know her culpability). This fearsome event was because her car is always immaculate!  I do so admire Norma and her car but I feel shame about mine!

armorall wipesAnyway, it’s my turn to drive on our next outing so I began the arduous (slightly obsessive) herculean task of ArmorAll-ing, vacuuming, and removing dust and mud from door frames.  “ArmorAll Wipes” help when I am in a shopping mall parking lot.  That’s where I, well – o.k. I admit it –  SWAB THINGS!

The results so far were a dust-free driver’s side!  Success in sight!

So yesterday, in the grocery store parking lot I began swabbing the steering wheel and then moved on down to the clutch areas, etc.  Of course that was before the fearsome warning light came on.   Then came that harrowing white knuckle drive!

Safely arriving home with no extraordinary catastrophes, the problem was turned over to Bill, who (much as I hate to admit it) immediately solved the problem.  It seems that  my aggressive swabbing unwittingly depressed the downhill  “assist” button (near the clutch), resulting in an afternoon of terror and  erratic driving.

Please do not ask what the “downhill assist button” means or is!  I have no clue.

But, all it took to restore order was to re-press the little downhill assist button once again.  Voila!  The flashing light is off!


My Final

Messages to Bill and Norma

How to Prevent Discombobulated Ditzy Driving Among Your Peers

Answer #1:  Bill, be more fastidious about keeping our car clean!

Answer #2:   Norma, be sloppier and leave your car dirty for our outings!


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Have you ever noticed the overwhelming number of nondescript colors on the highway?  And I don’t mean in the scenery.  There is a proliferation of soft hues that all fade into nature’s palette.  Of course there is white to match the clouds and various blues to blend in with the sky, to say nothing of sea foam green. Then there’s classic black for the road, tan for the colors of autumn, and gray that just seems to fade into almost any background.  Are these the real preferences of car owners or are there very few bright-color options available?

Seatbelts are now accepted and widely used.  They keep us harnessed down in case of fast stops or accidents.  Seatbelts are now required by law in most states, in the interest of saving lives.

Speaker phones help us converse without holding cell phones to our ears.  There is talk now of banishing the use of cell phones and texting altogether in the interest of public safety.

Speed limits are enforced on our highways to protect the driving public.

What about changing the colors of our cars?

When I used to travel with my work, European highways and byways always reminded me of the brightest summer flower gardens with their “hot” brilliant car colors.  I wondered why there were so many vivid vehicles on the roads there compared to the long lines of faded versions here.  Could it be that drivers can see bright red or orange or yellow quicker?  Did they know something we don’t about accident prevention and public safety on the roads?

Family tragedy forced me look at traffic and driving practices in a different way because in 1997, my two sisters-in-law were instantly killed by a drunk driver.  They were visiting us, going shopping together on a Sunday afternoon, and the color of their car was silver gray.  The oncoming drunk driver of a pick-up truck crossed the center line and another lane to wind up going the wrong way.  He was traveling at high speed on a Virginia byway and hit them head-on.  I have always wondered if their lives might have been spared if their car had been bright red.  Even drunk, wouldn’t the driver have seen a brighter color and reacted in time?

I know it is futile to dwell on the ”what-if” issues of life and death, but ever since the accident, I have insisted on driving a red car.  Red seems to be one of only a few bright colors available to new-car buyers here.   We still have our old gray car, so we used to choose the classic colors too, but that was then, and this is now, and I am just thinkin’.  My favorite color is now red.

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