On using the horn

As a small vehicle that is especially vulnerable to other people not looking when they change lanes and other forms of lacklustre driving, I find myself frequently covering the horn like we all cover our brakes in situations that call for it.  If I’m coming up on a vehicle that gives any impression of being a jerk or reveals small defects in driving judgement I’ve got those escape routes planned and am using my space margins.

The horn has saved me from having to do any creative split-second maneuvering thus far. One blast at someone who nearly changes lanes into me can send the offender swerving back into their original lane, hugging the side, and driving 20km/hr less than they were.  Pretty sweet result out of that Wolo horn.  (Mua ha ha ha!)

Today someone peeled out in from of me from their entrance onto the highway.  I am actually shocked that it has taken so long for this to happen to me (I’ve been commuting since July now).  I was able to brake alright but had to break hard, so I laid on the horn for a short blast just so they were aware.  The car kind of freaked out.  Like swerved, almost pulled over (on the highway!), drove super-slow, and then finally changed lanes to take a left to wherever they were going.

I actually felt a little bad for them.  Then I had a moment of panic that they would find me at work and spaz at me.  (One never knows when one drives something distinctive.)

I mentioned this to a coworker and she immediately said, “It’s probably because you look like a cop.  They thought they were in trouble and had to pull over.”

I’ve been watching Happy Valley on Netflix lately (sooooooo… good) and am totally digging Sergent Catherine Cawood’s florescent tinged authority.  She puts on her bright yellow police vest with utility pockets and gets it done.  The idea that I might look anything like her makes me very glad, though I’m not bent on being in mortal danger to the extent that she is in the series.

Sarah_Lancashire_2927204b 'Gloriously mouthy': Sarah Lancashire in Happy Valley.

(Swoon.)

Saw myself all kitted out for rain in the reflection of a doorway and instantly believed the police theory.  Huh.  I think I like it.

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(I promise that I look tougher when I’m not laughing and petting my dog who is very happy I’m home. For real.)

Monsoon Season and the Failure of the High Viz Jacket

Was looking a bit dorky and walked to the local coffee shop a half block away from work to procure some hot chocolate for our handbell choir event this week in my brighter-than-the-sun high viz rain jacket.  Two cars almost ran me over.  I could still see my work building and two whole vehicles didn’t see me and could have flattened me.  As a pedestrian.

My high viz jacket makes me feel fairly invincible as a pedestrian.  I’m not stupid.  I look at the cars to make sure they’re stopping and that they appear to see me.  How could they not see this?:

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I thought the first guy in the truck saw me -I even waved- and I didn’t realize until my heels were in jeopardy that there was problem.  He looked apologetic at least.  Within 6 feet another truck turning out of the same spot (with a stop sign) nearly took out my toes.   Another apologetic wave.

I actually wasn’t mad.  It’s easy to forget to look out for pedestrians.  I drive a car, too.  But riding and walking in hostile environments has made me aware of the underlying issues in such interactions.  Also, I like to read books like Straphanger by Taras Grescoe and watch films like Urbananized by Gary Hustwit that challenge the often unquestioned supremacy of the automobile.  Good thing doing yoga has made me a more compassionate person, too.

I hope that nearly running over a person in a cross walk wearing high viz yellow when they were supposed to have stopped was the little jolt each needed to pay better attention while driving.