How do you like those cat-like reflexes?

February 12, 2011 § 14 Comments

Last night, as Annie and I were returning from our food-finding mission for dinner, we had quite a little adventure. Before I explain what happened, please know these few facts: 1. we’re both fine, 2. the car’s fine, and 3. I know Annie shouldn’t be sitting in the front seat. This will probably be her last trip up there with me. So…please refrain from scolding me…I spent the evening in utter doggie-mom hell, completely riddled with guilt.

So, here’s what happened. We were returning from the video store (the…like, one that’s left in our town), made it past most of the treacherous high-traffic areas, and were safely in the 35 MPH zone, drifting gently past a series of newly built doctors’ offices at 30 MPH. And then all of a sudden…

SLAM!

The little green car in front of me slams on her brakes.

“What the hell?” I ask myself, slamming on my brakes, quickly checking my rearview to make sure the guy behind me did the same.

The little green car picks up speed, and we return to our 30 in a 35. Now I’m on high alert. I continue to drift behind the little green car, double-checking that I can still see pavement between her tires and the end of my car’s hood. And all of a sudden…

SLAM!

This time I press on my horn as I slam on my brakes, both out of frustration and to warn the guy behind me that something’s wrong up ahead. It suddenly dawns on me: this driver in front of me seems to think that I am following too close. Which is funny because I’m at a safe distance…as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t yet made it into her backseat. Saying a couple of swears and gesticulating wildly (fully aware that she cannot see my crazy wide arms asking “what’s up, bitch?” under the cover of darkness), I resume my 30 MPH.

I whisper a prayer under my breath. “Please, please, please don’t turn left….”

As we approach the light at the end of our road, I cannot quite tell which of the three lanes she’s about to take. Will she veer left and go with me home? Or will she continue straight? Or, perhaps she’s in a hurry to go to Bruster’s for some evening ice cream and will take a right? Impatient to know what she’s about to do, and fully aware that I have a car behind me, too, I click on my left turn indicator and start to inch forward a little. She swings in front of me without a blinker and suddenly

SLAM!!

This time, my tires squeal beneath me as I slam on my brakes. I lay on my horn for a ridiculous length of time, and Annie slips off the front seat and slides awkwardly to the floor in front of her. I think she either bumped her head or her paw on my tuner because the radio station changed. I did not hit the car in front of me. I was not hit by the car behind me. The light was red, and I was stuck behind this horrible person for a few seconds until we finally got the left turn signal.

I hesitated. I had two lanes to choose from when I turned left, and I fully intended to watch Little Miss Sporty Green Car to see which lane she would choose…because I would go in the other one and fast. To my delight, she veered not to the right-hand lane, but to the right-turn lane for the little shopping center on the corner…and stopped. Came to a complete stop. And lowered her window…and leaned out.

All of this happened in a matter of seconds, but I did not stop to shoot her a bird, a glare, or anything. I took my happy ass to the left-hand lane and got to 45 MPH absolutely as quickly as I could get, ever watchful of my rearview mirror.

As soon as I realized that I had nearly missed rear-ending another driver three times (because of that driver!) and that my poor sweet little Annie had bumped either her little noggin or her paw on that last slam, that’s when I started to shake. Violently. To the point that my jaw was chattering. I did the only reasonable thing I could think to do–call Robert. That’s reasonable and safe, right? Driving in utter shock and on the phone? I think the braking rattled some logical centers loose in my brain.

But, just like I knew would happen, as soon as I heard his voice say, “Hello?” my jaw stopped chattering. I could see the road now. I slowed down. I was still shaking, my heart was still slamming against my chest, but everything was starting to calm down now that Robert was “with” me in the car.

I spent the evening so rattled by this experience that I started to doubt my memory. Did I hit that car? Was I hit? Maybe that’s why she pulled off. Because I actually hit her. Oh, shit. Did I leave the scene of an accident?? Was I going to be discovered by the police at some point and brought in? What do they even do to people who leave the scene of an accident when that person doesn’t even realize there had been an accident? Surely that’s worse than actually leaving the scene intentionally…because leaving it without knowing there had been an accident suggests that the culprit was distracted or not paying close enough attention or impaired or something.

When I took Annie outside for her second potty break after returning home, I took her around the front of the house to check the car. No green paint had transferred onto my car. No dents were to be found. Because I didn’t touch that car. And I wasn’t touched by another car.

It took a few hours yesterday evening, but I finally calmed down sometime around 9:30 p.m.

I’ll tell you, the woman behind the wheel of that green car, whatever her motives were for slamming on her brakes like that, is ridiculously lucky that 1. I have wonderful reflexes and 2. my car’s brake system is top-notch.

This is part of the reason why I hate living in a college town. The driver was a college student. (As evidenced by the hangtag dangling from her rearview mirror.) College students like to believe they are the only drivers on the road and that, when they encounter another driver, that their own concerns and needs are top priority. That stupid bitch. If her little green car and my SUV got into a fight, guess who would come out on top every time? Yeah. Like I said: lucky her that I have awesome brakes.

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§ 14 Responses to How do you like those cat-like reflexes?

  • Yikes! Glad you and Annie are ok and yeah, college towns are good for those types of drivers – entitled. Up here, everyone is just in a mad rush and expects you to be as well. đŸ˜‰

    • Mrs. H. says:

      See, that’s the kind of driving I’m used to. I feel a great deal more comfortable back home than I do here because most everyone on the road back home generally has the same goal (“get me where I’m going NOW”). Here? People want to look around, or they drive entirely erratically, or they pull crap like this.

  • Lauren says:

    That sucks. I’m glad you and Annie are okay.

    I’m sure it was just some self-entitled sorority girl but also consider this — some scammers try to get themselves hit by another car for $. I’ve heard about them doing this in pairs, but I imagine it could be done by one person. Since you were maintaining a good distance, I would wonder what her motive was. Reading all that, that’s what popped into my mind, even though she’s got an AU hang tag.

    I guess I am becoming very distrustful of anyone who seems like a college student but acts just a bit strangely, as there has been theft on campus by those who pretend like they’re just students. Makes me feel unsafe.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks sisturr. That’s a good point. And another car did pull off behind them, but I wasn’t able to see if they knew each other because I went around a bend and lost them in my rearview mirror. I doubt they were working together because the car behind me was keeping a safe distance (just like I was keeping a safe distance from the car in front of me). I do think that the girl was actually just trying to give me a warning because she thought I was following too closely. Her dumb ass is lucky that I wasn’t following that closely, though, because I was actually able to brake without hitting her!

  • Renee Fisher says:

    Oh, I hate to even think about things like that. I remember my ex father-in-law telling me, after he and my mother-in-law moved to a popular beach community, that female college students were the WORST and MOST DANGEROUS drivers on earth, doing their on-road antics. Sometimes they failed, and they kept flying off the bridge that connected the community with the mainland. I am in a rage just thinking about your experience.

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Oh my word! That’s terrible! Yeah, and I hate to play into stereotypes on this point (because I know a good number of female drivers who I absolutely trust to get me from Point A to Point B), but I think you make a good point about college-aged female drivers. Especially this generation. Texting while driving is the scariest thing to me. This girl wasn’t texting or anything…just trying to cause an accident. But it’s the utter lack of concern for the safety of other drivers that really bothers me. I really think everyone would benefit from a defensive driving course–I took one to help reduce my parents’ insurance rates when I had my learner’s permit.

  • petthedog says:

    How terrible! So glad you are both safe!! I do not know how many times I have been almost hit by the same type of driver you described. I tell you, they are doing NOTHING for the assumption that women are worse drivers than men! As far as my experiences go, sorority girls are MUCH more terrible drivers than fraternity boys.

    Poor thing! And you wanted a restful night. Hopefully you managed to rest easy and enjoy the later part of your evening =)

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks, V. I know what you mean! It’s horrible that they play into the stereotype like that, but I guess a stereotype is a stereotype for a reason, right? I did eventually manage to get some rest and was able to enjoy the rest of my evening safe at home.

  • This is really frightening! So glad that you and Annie are okay. I know that feeling though, when you begin to doubt reality, since what just happened to you is so surreal. Bless you!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks, Kathy! Yeah, I hate when I doubt myself like that, but sometimes the human brain can black out…and I’m always worried about that, lol. It’s something of an irrational fear of mine, actually.

  • Tori Nelson says:

    Oh my word! Glad you are okay! That is a terrifying experience, enough to rattle me up for a good long while!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Thanks, Tori! On Sunday, I took Robert for a tour of the entire route where that girl was playing her little shenanigans. Obviously, I was still rattled, lol.

  • Jack says:

    I’m glad you guys (and the car) are okay. After slamming on the brakes time #2, I would have picked up my cell phone and called the cops. I would have told them that the person in front of you has been driving irregularly and has been narrowly missing causing accidents. They will (or at least in this area) send a car in the area IMMEDIATELY to investigate.

    What a nutcase that person is. They probably needed a new rear bumper cover and decided that causing an accident is their best bet at getting one!

    • Mrs. H. says:

      Unfortunately for us the cops here are also college-aged; I don’t actually have positive experience with these young cops doing their job. The entire episode happened within about three minutes–not enough time to get a cop car there anyway. And there weren’t really any witnesses from my angle. There would have been the car behind me that was keeping a safe distance after they saw me slam on my brakes, but I don’t think they would have had a good perspective on whether or not I was tailing the car in front of me. I thought about calling the cops (or, rather, I was sort of praying for one to be hidden behind a hedgerow), but I knew it would be more trouble than it was worth. Best to just get home safely and leave that stupid bitch for someone else. I know that’s not very neighborly of me, but I was already too rattled that night to have to deal with these small-town cops on top of it.

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