Terri Kaiser

Now, one rule of writing is to write what you know. I know drivers of all types, but bad drivers, well, I like to think I'm not a member of that club - but there have been times I may have been an honorary affiliate.

Corners can be a particular challenge when your driving skills are less than desired. There was a time when, as a teenager, I hit a hill. Darn thing came out of nowhere. One minute I was driving along nice as you please and suddenly, there it was. The actual culprit was a drop-off on the side of the pavement. The front passenger-side tire slipped off the pavement, became caught, and being inexperienced, I over-corrected, flew across the road and struck the hill. It was not pretty. Neither was having to go home and tell my parents. One of the many items on the list of those things I cringe to remember.

There was a time when I took a corner too fast and caused a biker in the opposite lane to abandon his bicycle in a flourish of fear. He flew one way, his bike another, both landing unceremoniously in someone's finely manicured lawn. Now, I wouldn't have hit him. I'm sure of it. But maybe, like those thingies they put on car hoods to warn the deer out of the way, my driving reputation preceded me as I made my way about town. It wasn't funny in the least, but I chuckled all the way home. I know, I shouldn't have.

The worst drivers are those that really don't have a clue as to where they are going. I have been guilty of this on several occasions. Other drivers are so impatient if you take too long trying to decide between left and right. And they get downright rude if you slow down to try to read the road signs. My goodness. After all, good driving requires a certain sense of confidence in the direction of the journey.

I've only hit two deer. Not happy about that. I do try to avoid anything in my path, but those two deer seemed to come out of nowhere (like hills). It was a sickening sound that I won't try to describe and a feeling of nausea at the realization of what had just taken place. Neither incident resulted in much damage to the vehicles, but still, it's not a fun thing to have happen.

I am a believer in karma, and karma bit me quite handily a few years ago. I was on my way to Wausau to visit my son and family, when it seemed every slow driver in the state got in my way. I had a tight schedule to keep, after all. Of course I wanted time with my family, but I was venturing into the land of Walmarts and Kohls, Target and Gordmans, Olive Garden and Dairy Queen. I could go on and on. I had a long list, and a short time to accomplish it.

There was a particularly slow driver by Tomahawk that, from the confines of my car, I gave a rather severe tongue-lashing. No matter how many times I tried to catch him in the rear-view mirror by acting frustrated and at the end of my rope, he continued to pay little attention to the speed limit and I was unable to get around him. He was just one of many, but I paid for it in the end.

Yes, being in a hurry, I pulled out in front of another driver in a large intersection, resulting in a collision between me and a jacked-up pick-up truck. It was my fault. I deserved it after being such a jerk on the road. Thankfully, the other driver had minimal damage, unlike my own Impala. Gosh, I liked that car. I have since learned to enjoy the journey whether traveling the speed limit or not.

In closing, if you see me coming in your direction, have no fear. I am a much better driver these days. Really, I am. Age, and experience, has cured my need to hurry. I have learned to appreciate the scenery and be more tolerant of others. And karma scares the bejeebers out of me.

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