Archive for the 'Driving' Category

Published by sylvia on 11 Aug 2010

Welcome back to Yuppieville

I guess we have rejoined the Yuppies.

Last year at this time, we had 4 drivers and 1 car. My daughter was off at college and my son was at basic Army National Guard training. My husband telecommutes, so we were able to manage just fine with one car, and had for a number of years.

Yuppies? Not us.

Today, we have 4 drivers and 4 cars. My son came home with a bonus burning a hole in his pocket and immediately bought a car. He was also determined to volunteer to go someplace interesting like Iraq or Afghanistan, and got orders to deploy August 7, so he left his car to his college-student sister. She was enjoying the freedom of being able to drive to her job or anywhere else she wanted when the Army doctors decided my son’s shoulder had not healed enough for deployment. He’d have to stay home.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t jump for joy that he wasn’t going to head for someplace dangerous. But I felt bad for his disappointment. Naturally, he wanted his car back, so I also felt bad that my daughter had tasted freedom (there is no feeling like your first car!) and had it yanked away. So I discussed it with my husband and decided to watch for something reliable that we could afford.

So I saw a local classified for a 1986 Saab for $700. I could afford that, but did it run? We took it for a test drive and while it’s definitely an old car, it seemed to run fine. It had a standard shift, which made my husband drool but which my daughter doesn’t know how to drive, so my husband volunteered to teach her. He has wanted a standard-shift car for the entire 22 years we have been married. It wasn’t my ideal car for her; I know from experience that driving a standard on winter roads is not fun, and I would rather have seen my daughter driving a tank. But I sure liked the price.

Parked right behind the Saab was another vehicle with a “For Sale” sign, a 1984 Ford Bronco. Now that was a tank! It had a lot of rust and the owner was asking $1500, which I thought was a little high, but it was an automatic and DH agreed we should at least call the owner, who said it had been his grandmother’s. (A variation on the “little old lady who only drove it on Sundays” sales pitch?) So we did another test drive. It had trouble starting but ran fine once it started. It also had 4-wheel drive, a definite plus on Laramie roads that can stay snow- and ice-covered for weeks at a time in winter. But the seller and I couldn’t agree on a price, so we bought the Saab and DH planned to teach my daughter how to drive a standard.

I waited a couple of days and called the Bronco owner again. I figured the car had been sitting there for months, so it’s not like people were beating down his door to buy it, and he might be willing to come down a little. And it worked; we agreed on a price and met at the bank yesterday. My daughter even made time in her busy schedule to come with me to get the Bronco, so I was able to get it in her name and she won’t have to worry about anyone yanking it away from her (again!)

So here we are, 4 drivers with a car each. My husband is looking forward to being able to participate in more activities without leaving me car-less. I still have our original vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Matrix which is just the right height for me to get in and out with severe arthritis. My son has his 2002 Oldsmobile Alero back and is hopefully job-hunting. And my daughter is crowing on her Facebook page about having her own wheels.

Oh well. Yuppieville isn’t so bad.

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Published by sylvia on 01 Feb 2009

It’s not an accident

I’ve been reading Is There a Problem, Officer? by Steve Pomper, who wrote:

“It is a collision, not an accident … I can’t recall one offhand that was a true accident – where neither party was guilty of having done something wrong. In the vast majority of cases, one party or the other (or both) has done something wrong, whether intentionally or inadvertently, to cause the collision. Bottom line: They just weren’t careful enough.” (page 193)

Hooray! I have said that for YEARS. Our avoid-responsibility-at-any-cost society cherishes the term. “Of course you didn’t do anything wrong, honey – it was just an accident.” Never mind that he was talking on his cell phone, she hadn’t gotten around to having the brakes fixed, he cut across three lanes of traffic to make his exit, she was applying makeup or reaching around to adjust her kid’s carseat when the collision occurred; the blessed term “accident” means it wasn’t their fault. It just happened.

That is so dangerous for responsible drivers that it terrifies me, and I raised my kids to never call it an “accident.” I used the term “wreck” but Officer Pomper’s term “collision” is much more precise, and I hereby happily adopt it. (Thank you, Officer.) When you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you are responsible for what it does. The car doesn’t have a mind of its own. When my new-driver son had a collision, it was because he didn’t turn his head to check before changing lanes. (Even after my years of drumming in to ALWAYS, ALWAYS turn your head to check, and telling both kids that saves me from about 2-3 collisions per year.) When my husband suffered a collision early in our marriage, he was minding his own business waiting to make a left turn, while someone not paying attention barrelled down on him — but he wasn’t watching his rear-view mirror and he had his wheels already turned, which meant when the idiot hit him, he was pushed across oncoming traffic and the collision became much worse. (The car was totaled, he was knocked out and had to stay overnight in the hospital.) And don’t even get me started on the drivers who think that because they are in a vehicle with 4-wheel drive, they can fly along snowy/icy roads at normal speed. There is nothing accidental about them ending up on the side of the road, upside down and/or facing the wrong way.

So whatever it is when inattention or carelessness or anger results in damage to a motor vehicle (and possibly people as well), it’s not an accident.

BTW, the book is worth reading. Check out my “book reviews” page in the left-hand column to see my review of it.

Note: comments have to be approved because this site gets TONS of spam each day. If you leave a comment, please Email me at mama dot sylvia at steigerfamily dot com to tell me you left a real comment, otherwise it will probably get deleted with the unread spam.