Why I Don’t Drive 2/2

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Content warning: This post contains detailed description of a fatal car accident and the victim’s body.

Now I don’t try to be a good driver. Instead I follow the rules meant for pedestrians. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know my movements are unlikely to kill another person, that my progression through town won’t cause harm. Ambulating along the sidewalk poses little risk to others. It increases the risks to myself.

I’m no longer at risk of accidentally killing a pedestrian, but I’m at much greater risk of being thus killed myself.  I traded the safety and responsibility of being a driver for the uncertainty of being a pedestrian. While I am a stickler for crosswalk rules, I found most drivers are not. I wonder if they even know the laws. So here are a few things I think most drivers need to learn.

1. Pedestrians are allowed to walk in the crosswalk. Most drivers seem to believe these are cross “runs” and that it is lawful and appropriate to rev their engines at walking people to hurry them along. They are wrong. Threatening to kill another person via vehicular homicide is not part of lawful driving.

2. The crosswalk is the pedestrian lane. Your car should not remain in it. You should be behind the crosswalk while waiting at a stop sign or light, and you should not enter a crosswalk until you are free to proceed all the way through it. If a pedestrian has to walk around your car to reach the sidewalk, they have to be in the intersection (death zone) much longer.

3. If you approach a four way stop, and a pedestrian is already legally moving through the crosswalk, you have to wait your turn. Being the first or only car at an intersection does not always mean you have the right of way. Pedestrians get it sometimes. And yes, we move slower. It means we get where were going slower. You can handle the extra second of safety from your padded seats and air conditionining. We actually may die if you decide your impatience outweighs are lives.

I will never “get over” the life my grandma took by barrelling down a residential street in her station wagon. I will always remember her broken body, the horror of her blood and meat. I may never forget the sickening sound as her head struck the window and life left her body. I want people to take more care, drive with more caution. Every driver has the potential to kill, and I think that seriousness is forgotten.

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One thought on “Why I Don’t Drive 2/2

  1. I’m more than a sympathizer on this one. I didn’t do my paper test until leaving high school. I didn’t actually drive a car until I was 20 and didn’t properly learn to drive till 23. I was very nervous behind the wheel, but frankly I think I turned that into a strength. I finally got my license at 25, but I never wanted to actually drive or own a car. I haven’t driven since 2006. My license finally expired last year.

    I do actually think that for guys, driving is seen as necessary for “getting a girl”. Some of my friends wanted to drive and own a car as quickly as possible and I’m pretty sure it was mostly to impress girls. A “complete man” has a car. A guy with a better car is a better man. There was that sort of attitude and I don’t say that girls weren’t interested in a guy’s car, but clearly I was more interested in girls who didn’t care so much for guys’ cars. I remember at 20 I got a lift from a young lady who I was working with on a college project as part of a team. She was a sporty sort of gal, but when it came time for her to park she got embarrassed and said “Ok, this’ll be a bit of a ‘girl park'”. That actually made me feel weak, because she was assuming that I could park better, not realizing that I didn’t actually drive at all. I felt “unmanly” for being a non-driver. I don’t care very much now, but I do meet people, male and female who go a bit quiet when they hear that I don’t drive. I’ve had a couple of women ask me when I’m going start driving again, which made me feel rather judged. I pretty determined to not drive unless something comes up that makes it a real necessity.

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