The expanses of WolfWings' land scratched on the wall for all to see
August 27th, 2005
August 27th, 2005
August 27th, 2005
August 27th, 2005
August 27th, 2005
01:54 pm - Just because I know threshold braking...
...does not mean the gal behind me does. That was the last thought I had, almost literally. "Oh shit... I had to max-brake there and barely made it... BRACE! *WHAM*crinzt*"
Eclipse is now about 3 inches more compact, and has a face like the hunchback of Notre Dame.
Northbound on the 405, number 1 lane, sudden slowdown. And I mean to the point I realized, "I don't have time to blink my brakelights to warn the person behind me. I have to actually slam on the brakes and try not to spin out," sudden.
I stopped with around a foot to spare. And as my car was settling back on it's rear wheels again... it got lifted up and forward so the passenger-side headlight got shoved back about a foot into the car by the driver-side rear bumper of the car in front of me.
The gal behind me had a face covered in blood, as was her shirt, and full airbag deployment in the front of the car with the front of her car shortered by about... 2 feet, by comparison to the 3-4 inches my rear bumper got crunched. Now it's all up to the insurance companies, which'll be akward since both she and I are AAA members and have AAA insurance.
But this proves that I can tell if I can stop in time. And that that has no bearing on if the person behind me can.19 commentsLeave a comment
otana - 09:31 pm
Wolf, I love you, but you have GOT TO SLOW DOWN.
I understand you have a great deal of faith in your driving abilities, but you DO go too fast, take things too tight, and generally push the limits as far as you can. Regardless as to whether I think you are being reckless, or are incredibly capable, or just a bit careless, you are starting to worry me. Because from what I heard, by all rights that last crash should have killed you. Usually a huge, near-fatal accident is enough to scare most people into reviewing their driving habits and being more cautious. From what I have seen ... it's almost the opposite with you, that it bolstered your esteem and inflated your view on your skills because you survived. From what I heard, yes, it was the other guy who "broke" the rules. But didn't that show you just how unpredictable other people can be? The whole point is that you have to take things slow just to accomodate for other peoples' stupidity.
But this proves that I can tell if I can stop in time. And that that has no bearing on if the person behind me can.
This is totally, utterly scary for me to read. Because honest to gods, I was hoping you'd end this post with something about it having taught you that BECAUSE people don't have super-fast reaction times and BECAUSE you can't judge the skills of people in front of / behind you, that you HAVE to slow down and take more care, even if just to accomodate them. As manawolf said to me as she read this post over my shoulder, these accidents just don't happen to people with this much regularity. They CAN happen, but when I've seen how tightly you cut things and how little room you give people to react to your last minute moves and adjustments, I am more likely to think that this could have been preventable.
I'm sorry but ... I have wanted to say this pretty much since you first drove me somewhere. I just don't feel safe in a car with you, and this has kind of made me wonder if I should listen to those feelings. I'm really not the only one who thinks this, and I hope that others will back me up in being honest about this.
I just don't want the next car-related post in your journal to be your mother reporting your death in an accident. That's all.
wolfwings - 10:32 pm - Problem with this complaint?
I wasn't even driving fast, nor changing lanes. I had been in the same lane for over a half mile, with cruise control turned on at 65 for a planned leisurely cruise to pick up a computer to swap hard drives in, during what was light traffic before someone else cut off a car... about five or six in front of me. Everyone stopped in a big line that rippled backwards. I just happened to have someone completely not paying any attention at all plow into me.
And the point of the post actually was that not everyone has the same reactions I do. The very freakin' line you quoted says that, in fact. Just because I can stop (which can be expanded to cover anything else I can do) doesn't mean the person behind/in front/beside/around me can.
And by all rights, to be perfectly honest, Otana, I've been in no less than seven accidents that, by all standard textbook knowledge, I shouldn't have survived. I've been hit by vehicles when on a bicycle (twice), in an SUV-like vehicle that tumbled and drug along for over a ten seconds (Ford Bronco towing a trailer that jack-knifed and tumbled then drug the Bronco behind it from sheer inertia), been in cars that have been T-boned, rolled (not the Civic), and this makes the second vehicle I've been in that's been rear-ended. And I may have my worst injury ever from a traffic accident from this last one. A bruised tailbone.
No, I'm not trying to brag, but actually realizing that you're right, I think. Supposedly near-death situations don't seem to scare me, possibly because I've averaged about one every 18 months for my entire life, and routinely gotten worse injuries unloading a car trunk (slashed finger) or walking a balance beam at school (gashed my eye orbit nearly to the bone) or just plain roller-blading with full safety equipment on (shattered my right arm) so far in my life. It's not a good thing though, I agree with you in retrospect looking back over my life, but I'm starting to wonder if it's akin to how a Soldier can get used to death and it's lingering presence, when it happens around them enough. And might explain a lot of my 'detachment' from what most people consider very powerful situations.
I'm sorry if this sounds aggressive or argumentative, but my purpose for posting this initially was A) the Eclipse was wrecked, B) I'm okay, C) I learned something from it this time hopefully. I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way. But I am surprised you read that one line the way you did.
otana - 11:14 pm - Re: Problem with this complaint?
I have no idea what you are saying in response to my comment. You seem to be agreeing that my point is correct, but that you are surprised that I wrote what I did. This is confusing.
Mainly ... I want to know if you are merely making an observation and yet not planning on amending anything, or whether you are prepared to look at this pattern and learn from it.
The fact that you have been in SEVEN of these accidents and not merely two like I thought, really worries me. I'm mad, yes. I'm mad because *I* should have said something before. Because *you* should have seen the patterns a long time ago. Because *someone else* should have been beating you upside the head with it way before I got here.
And if I have to be the bad guy and say these things because no one else will, I will. Because I've had and overheard far too many conversations with different people about your driving, and was simultaneously relived that (a) I wasn't the only one worried and (b) annoyed that no one else had the guts or time to tell you it.
I worry, and I don't want you to get hurt. I think it's great that you actually learned to drive, I think it's great that you enjoy it so much and spend so much time really learning to understand your vehicle. But there seem to be some basics that elude you, whether because it is not in your nature to pay attention to them, or because you picked up bad habits that you are now unwilling to shake.
Yes, I am mad. If you were here right now, you would have an Otana-sized handprint on your cheek, most likely. It's infuriating, but also very frightening and I hope that you will either listen to me, or someone else about this. Or that you ARE actually reviewing things, and I simply did not understand your reply.
Still, I am glad that we can at least open a dialog about this.
lionman - 09:51 pm
Insurance-wise, you should be okay. If you didn't hit the guy in front of you, then the person in the back is generally at fault. :-/
Now...as for other thoughts.. Y'know, you and cars don't seem to be on a good luck streak. :-/ Even when it's not your fault, you still get it in the end, so to speak. :-( I think you're about due for some good luck, don't you?
wolfwings - 10:35 pm - My 'good luck' will probably be...
...that I'll have around $2k suddenly from all this, almost exactly what I payed for the Eclipse in the first place.
And neither me nor my mom have had good luck with car longevity through our lives. She's gone through no less than five cars that I personally remember over the last two decades, and more beyond that. And now I've gone through 2 myself.
lionman - 04:44 am - Re: My 'good luck' will probably be...
Do me a favor, would you? Be sure to only drive cars that will take a hit and keep you safe, eh? I'd -really- appreciate know you'll be okay after a 'normal' wreck.
drewkitty - 11:32 pm
Wolf, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for you, but your consistent string of life-threatening accidents over the last several years means that you're doing something wrong.
I have seen you do a number of superhuman things, probably more than I'll ever do in my life. But every once in a great while, I've pulled a superhuman move when it really, really mattered. BUT I NEVER COUNT ON IT.
I drive as if the world is out to get me, because I've seen enough horrific car wrecks to last me a lifetime. I leave plenty of defensive space, observe the behavior of other drivers, and never "push it" -- thus, I have some reserve left when the idiot cuts in front of me or wants to road-rage or swerves into my lane -- let alone when I am first-on-scene and have to set up traffic control for an accident.
If you drive at 100%, you have nothing left when everything turns to shit.
Leave the other idiots around you some wiggle room. We both know that you are a superb technical driver with excellent reflexes. You'd do fine on a racetrack once you learned the tricks. But your judgment -- your relative ability to gauge risk versus benefit -- is nowhere near as good.
The only cause of this accident that was under your control was your failure to leave enough defensive space. That's enough. There were many other causes (idiot in front of you, idiot behind you, whatever made idiot in front of you pile on the brakes, whoever didn't love the idiot behind you enough to get her into a defensive driving course, etc.) But anything you can do to minimize the risk of injury or death for you, your passengers, and anyone who might come into contact with your tons of screaming metal; YOU MUST DO.
Further, you do not have personal immunity from the mysteries of death. You are very lucky but to quote a gaming buddy, "The dice have no memory." You keep taking risks at the level that you do now, you will eventually roll crap and someone will have to chisel "He had the right of way" on your tombstone. Or I will have to attend at your vehicular manslaughter trial.
sardonicus - 12:53 am
Wolf, the problems with thresholds and margins is that they shift. Sometimes suddenly and without warnings or signs.
All that would have been needed here would have been a little bit of slippery asphalt.....or a short in the airbag mechanism...and it wouldn't have been just blood on that lady's face. Or she could have ended up with a cerberal hematoma, since the brain does not slow down at the same speed as the external physical frame does.
If you do not leave yourself and others that margin for error, then at some point things will come up snake-eyes. No one is immune from probabilities.
The morgue at my workplace is frequently full of the pets of those who thought otherwise. They took the chances of letting them out on the streets, of letting them eat stray objects.....and it didn't work out well.
I know we've spoken of personal change before, and how hard it is. But I would really rather not outlive you.
eibii - 04:33 am
Gnaaaaah! Yeah, really, I can't say anything for having never driven with you before, but... yikes. Seriously glad you're okay, but you might want to look into this bit with the folks who know more about this than I do talking. *hugs*
manawolf - 05:04 am
What others have said... this is the equivalent of the universe smacking you upside the head with a clue-by-four.
I think drewkitty said it best... you are an excellent technical driver. You know your car and it's capabilities, superbly. That's not under question.
Unfortunately, the driving you are doing nowadays is largely dependant upon an element of social interaction. Sardonicus commented to me recently about the social aspect of driving he observes when riding with me - I interact with other cars on the road as if they are people. And, really, they ARE. Distracted people, incompetent people, asshole people, and occasionally even sometimes nice people who wave back.
You HAVE to treat driving in the city as a social exercise, one where the people you interact with are steering multi-ton shrieking metal engines of death, most often at a capacity far below competence.
Give an extra foot of leeway, not an inch. Allow an extra car-length. Plan for people to do incredibly stupid things immediately in front of you - and for the people in back of you to be putting on makeup or something. As I know you know, people are stupid and do stupid things, and you can't bank on trusting that they will do what they should when they should. I've seen cars whizz through the light - three seconds after it turned green in the other direction - too often to shoot forward from the line as if the lack of opposing traffic were guaranteed. Should be, but it ain't.
Part of me knows you hardly need a lecture on the dangers... but I've been driving since I was 19 and had a total of 1 no-fault accident. My daily mileage these days is very low, but that wasn't always the case. Accident records like what you have don't just happen - there is a common factor, and that is you, and you need to learn how to drive defensively before the odds catch up.
I know I'm being unusually harsh, but god dammit, I'm worried. This many cars wrecked is just not normal. It isn't. And even if karmic dice are just throwing idiots your way, you need to learn to drive with that in mind. Because you can't change the situations you're thrown into, or the morons on the road. But you can drive knowing that these things happen to you, a lot, and expect them to happen, and plan to protect yourself and your vehicle when they do.
'Nough outta me. Sorry if I'm venting any undeserved vibes in your direction, it's been a rough weekend. But I am still freaked out and worried 'bout ya. Only got one niichan... yakno? *hugs*
mira_fastfire - 03:00 pm
I'm been waiting for a time when I was clear-headed so I can react to this thoughtfully...but I really do need to react now. I agree with everything that's been said, to sum it up.
When thinking of defensive driving, I'm reminded of an incident I had when driving to the local bank. I was driving slowly, as it just about in parking lot territoy. I was in my lane, totally in the right. Then this car comes, similar speed, cutting 'round the corner in front of me. And is heading right for me. In MY lane. We both kinda...stared at each other like..."You're not supposed to be THERE!" then I sloooooooowed down, and she went 'round me. But I couldn't drive anymore that day -- I spent the next twenty minutes going, "She wasn't supposed to be THERE!" ....the lesson, sweetie? Always expect that kind of shit. Always. Expect that the people around you aren't paying attention -- leave a HELL of a lot of room for it.
Driving isn't just learning to use the car, it's learning how to keep safe from the idiots out there. Consider taking a course (or two, or three...) on defensive driving.
I'm...upset for several reasons. I'm worried not only for your safety....but for the safety of those around you (including me)...and (this will sound weird) your societal standing. That last one is...odd. But I keep seeing it happen. You keep alienating people by your behavior. Stop. Look at the rules....look at the expectations...look at how other people live and manuever...and see how much you can stop pushing the envelope. Because it WILL break. It's already torn in a few places. And...it hurts when I see someone I love doing that.
How much room was between you and the car in front of you when this happened?