The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > Mundane Pointless Stuff I Must Share (MPSIMS)

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-15-2012, 06:44 PM
BTEzra04 BTEzra04 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Tell me about your crappy driving mistakes

And help me feel better. I feel like an idiot. Failure to yield ticket. And I should know better, because I've had bad luck with left turns before.

It had been a long ass day at work--10.5 hours in the office. I just hope I'm not that unaware again. Pretty scary. At least nobody was hurt...
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 06-15-2012, 06:51 PM
MsWhatsit MsWhatsit is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
About two weeks after I got my license when I was 16, I was driving home after stopping at McDonald's. (Oh, sweet freedom, I could go to McDonald's whenever I wanted!) I was fiddling around in the passenger seat trying to get my burger out of the bag, and I let the car drift too far to the right. Looked up just in time to jerk the wheel back to the left, but still clipped someone's mailbox with my passenger-side mirror. The mailbox was fine, but I knocked all the glass out of the mirror.

I of course lied to my parents and told them I must have been hit in a parking lot. And I never made the mistake of looking away from the road while I'm driving again. (Well, not for longer than a second or so to change the radio station. But during this incident I bet my eyes were off the road for a good five seconds at least.)
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-15-2012, 06:57 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Almost 3 years ago, I hit someone that was going straight while I was turning left. I still can't believe that I blanked like that and just followed the car in front of me. Why would I do that?? I blame it on conversation with my kid and now we don't talk in the car. And I'll be so glad come August when my insurance rates finally go back down.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 06-15-2012, 07:20 PM
Enkel Enkel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2012
Shortly after I got my license, I was driving my dad's four door, 8 ft bed Dodge truck. I tried to pull into the parking spot at home next to the little hatchback spitfire? (small car). For some reason the truck was stuck. I gunned the gas. Still stuck. I backed up, pulled in again and got stuck again. My dad is standing in the yard watching. I pulled back again... then notice that someone has dented my dad's car.

My dad walked up and he was too flabber gasted to speak. All he said was "Let me park it"

I got out, expecting to be dead within minutes.

He got out of the truck and walked into the house without looking at me.

I saw fit to 'go for a walk' until after he'd gone to work.

Years later, I asked him about that day. He said he was totally dumbfounded and was trying real hard to not break out laughing because he knew I was mortified at what I'd done.

Last edited by Enkel; 06-15-2012 at 07:20 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 06-16-2012, 01:23 AM
AaronX AaronX is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
I've heard of 2 instances where people "thought the person ahead had gone" and almost hit a stationary vehicle ahead of them. In one instance they actually did.

Another time someone reversed into a parked car. That was in line with theirs. Both cars were in a driveway and the inner car was trying to get out.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 06-16-2012, 01:43 AM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 11,315
I had had my new car about three months when I stuck my head up my ass and rear-ended the car in front of me. I described it that way to the cop investigating the accident and he let me off with no ticket for being truthful about it.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 06-18-2012, 12:02 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
I had my first ever very-near-miss a couple weeks ago. My mom was in the passenger seat, jawing about something pissily (as is her wont). At the antepenultimate second before an off-ramp (very close to, but not quite at, the point of no return), she said, "Why aren't you in the right lane!?" Well, because I've never driven this way before, and you got offended when I suggested plugging in my GPS at the outset of this journey! Not that I said that, but I was thinking it loudly. So anyway, I got flustered. And in that critical moment, I failed to turn my head before switching lanes. I glanced at my rear and right mirrors really quick, then signaled and started changing lanes so we wouldn't miss the ramp.

WELP! Apparently a guy was sitting in my right rear blindspot. He gunned it when he saw me signal, and I saw his car out of the corner of my eye in time to swerve back left. I came very close to swiping him... but fortunately, no cigar. If I'd hit him, it would have been a same-direction sideswipe (so probably not major damage), but we were both traveling around 65 on the highway. So who knows what could have happened.

Lessons learned: Watch my blindspots more carefully in case they're being camped out in. Always turn my head before changing lanes, even if it means missing a crucial off-ramp on an expensive toll road (a double toll is still cheaper than an accident!). Don't ever linger in the blindspots of others. And most importantly, use my GPS forevermore instead of relying on passengers for ad hoc directions. Because even while I was changing lanes before I saw the guy, I knew I should have looked. I knew that not-looking was stupid. When I'm alone in the car, I always look. I just didn't look because my mom got all pissy that I didn't read her mind, and I allowed myself to get distracted and flustered. Quoth the Rachel: nevermoar! If I'd hit that guy, it would have totally been my fault. I'm so glad I didn't!

I was amply punished by being accused of trying to kill my mom and her boyfriend for the next half-hour, though. Maybe I should trade-in for a single-seater car. Those exist, right? Then I would have a great excuse for declining to give rides to everybody.

Last edited by Rachellelogram; 06-18-2012 at 12:06 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 06-18-2012, 12:50 AM
GreasyJack GreasyJack is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelellogram View Post
Lessons learned: Watch my blindspots more carefully in case they're being camped out in. Always turn my head before changing lanes, even if it means missing a crucial off-ramp on an expensive toll road (a double toll is still cheaper than an accident!).
I know this is the topic of much debate in some quarters, but if your mirrors are adjusted properly you shouldn't need to check your blind spot because you shouldn't have one. See here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...id-blind-spots

Admittedly, it's a little bit trickier to get the mirrors in adjustment than the way most people do it (i.e. with the back corner of your own car in view), but if you're the only person who drives your car it's not too difficult to set it up and just leave it that way. Here's another good how-to page: http://www.cartalk.com/content/avoiding-blind-spot-5

Last edited by GreasyJack; 06-18-2012 at 12:51 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 06-18-2012, 01:02 AM
LouisB LouisB is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Seminole, FL
Posts: 8,206
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I know this is the topic of much debate in some quarters, but if your mirrors are adjusted properly you shouldn't need to check your blind spot because you shouldn't have one. See here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...id-blind-spots

Admittedly, it's a little bit trickier to get the mirrors in adjustment than the way most people do it (i.e. with the back corner of your own car in view), but if you're the only person who drives your car it's not too difficult to set it up and just leave it that way. Here's another good how-to page: http://www.cartalk.com/content/avoiding-blind-spot-5
Thanks for those links. I'm getting more and more concerned about blind spots; I think it's more my eyes than my mirrors, though.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 06-18-2012, 01:04 AM
Rachellelogram Rachellelogram is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I know this is the topic of much debate in some quarters, but if your mirrors are adjusted properly you shouldn't need to check your blind spot because you shouldn't have one. See here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...id-blind-spots

Admittedly, it's a little bit trickier to get the mirrors in adjustment than the way most people do it (i.e. with the back corner of your own car in view), but if you're the only person who drives your car it's not too difficult to set it up and just leave it that way. Here's another good how-to page: http://www.cartalk.com/content/avoiding-blind-spot-5
Interesting reads! I'll have to try that. I normally have very good spatial awareness on the highway and my blind spots aren't a problem. I constantly maintain a general awareness of where all cars are around me before I need to make a maneuver, and I only prepare to switch lanes after a car passes me and I am 100% certain there wasn't another behind it. But, even merely listening passively to a live conversation takes up enough brainpower that I can't effectively live-monitor the road at the same time.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 06-18-2012, 03:50 PM
Soylent Juicy Soylent Juicy is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Very few people know this. When I was 23 or so I got my G2 (Ontario Graduated Licensing - means I could drive by myself.) I was NOT confident at all, due to constant put-downs and snide remarks from my then-boyfriend and his friends ("Juicy's driving? Better stay off the sidewalks! Har har har.") One day I was driving my then-boyfriend's-friend's Intrepid (big wide car) and I was going up a narrow street. A city bus turned onto the street, and I was kind of trapped between this oncoming bus and a row of parked cars. I had no idea what to do. I tried to squeeze over so the bus could get by.....and hit a parked car. OMG I was mortified. I knew about some "accident reporting centre" at the cop shop so instead of staying at the scene (again, didn't know what to do!) I tried to drive there, but I couldn't control the car all of a sudden (bent tie-rod) and pulled over and went to a payphone (olden days) and called my then-BF at work in hysterical tears. Thank God he was a mechanic, the owner of the car was his manager and also an auxilliary police officer. He told my then-BF to "Just fix it." and asked his cop-buddy to tear up the ticket he gave me for "Careless Driving."

It took until I was about 36 (two years ago) before I had the courage to try driving again, and only because my now-wonderful-husband made me learn. I cried and fought but eventually DID learn (with the help of SUPPORTIVE people around me) and now I drive my Jeep with skill and confidence. Sure I still make minor errors in judgement sometimes like everybody does but I see them as "learning experiences."
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:46 PM
panache45 panache45 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
Posts: 22,594
I was parked in a parking lot that was adjacent to another, vacant, parking lot. When I was getting ready to leave, there were several other cars in my lot waiting to exit, so I decided it would be easier to just drive forward into the other lot, and exit from there. I didn't notice that there was a low concrete barrier separating the two lots. Yup, I got my car stuck on top of the barrier. It took AAA 45 minutes to come and tow me. Meanwhile, everyone driving by (this was at a major intersection) got a good look at the idiot with his car stuck on top of the barrier.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 06-18-2012, 08:58 PM
Ferret Herder Ferret Herder is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
I was changing lanes from left to right not too far before an intersection, and thought I saw something in my blind spot - it was dark out, etc. After I double-checked and spent too long doing it, I looked forward again just in time to see the light was red. I slammed on the brakes (was going maybe 15-20), and just barely went into the intersection, but that was far enough for the car turning left from the one-way street coming from the right to get into a fender-bender with me. No airbag deployment or anything. Even the police officer said the timing on that light was weird.

I got a failure to yield for a signal ticket, and the other driver went through a series of lawyers, stringing out threats to sue over the course of 3 years. They finally served me in front of a waiting room full of patients. My insurance company's lawyer got it dismissed essentially for failing to be prompt in pursuing the case.

I'm ultra-paranoid about both red-light timing and changing lanes too near an intersection now. Years later, I even feel my heart start to race if a light changes and I have to brake somewhat hard.

Last edited by Ferret Herder; 06-18-2012 at 09:00 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 06-18-2012, 09:45 PM
SeaDragonTattoo SeaDragonTattoo is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Chicago, Far Northsider
Posts: 5,546
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I know this is the topic of much debate in some quarters, but if your mirrors are adjusted properly you shouldn't need to check your blind spot because you shouldn't have one. See here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...id-blind-spots

Admittedly, it's a little bit trickier to get the mirrors in adjustment than the way most people do it (i.e. with the back corner of your own car in view), but if you're the only person who drives your car it's not too difficult to set it up and just leave it that way. Here's another good how-to page: http://www.cartalk.com/content/avoiding-blind-spot-5
Not to continue hijacking, but I've been using this method since shortly after I started driving my own cars, around 1988. It just seemed to make sense, because I already know where the ass end of my own car is - I'm sitting in it. It's the other guy I'm worried about. One day I was fooling with the mirrors and then was like, "hey, why not keep them here, and here? The blind spots are gone that way." And I've positioned them like that ever since.

Though I've managed to pull boners with my own side mirrors on two different cars, usually in drive-throughs with the brightly painted concrete poles. That I should have seen. That I should have known were there anyway. Luckily, they were break-away mirrors on springs, so they just ended up scraped a bit and no real damage.

Shortly after getting my license and and still driving my mom's '78 Cutlass, I bumped a woman at a stoplight. No damage to either car at all (probably 2mph, tops), but she was pissed because she had a McDonald's Coke between her legs and it spilled all over her lap. She got out and walked back (still in line at the light that was green now), started yelling at me while I apologized, and stopped abruptly when I asked her why the toddler in the front seat wasn't wearing a safety belt.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 06-18-2012, 10:18 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Driving a rental 4WD in the US and heading back to Houston from NASA I had a little incident at the on-ramp.

Rather too late I realised that I was about to end up going down a road (access lane?) that paralleled the motorway and tried to change lanes with insufficient warning. I (barely) managed to not side-swipe the driver on my left in this ill considered manoeuvre but then corrected into the curb, at which point my right rear tire blew out.

I pulled the vehicle onto the verge (and then after seeing the speed of the traffic going past) down into the area between the motorway and the side road, and changed the tire. (Had to find it first -- unfamiliar vehicle and it turned out the spare was located up underneath the body and had to be winched down). The 110 degree heat added to the overall experience.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 06-18-2012, 11:32 PM
Lacunae Matata Lacunae Matata is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
When I was a new driver, we lived on an unpaved road. Red Georgia clay. There were two ways to drive to civilization: turn right from the driveway, and drive up a fairly steep hill, at the top of which the road was hemmed in by seven-foot-high banks of clay, at the center of a curve. Or turn left from the drive to ascend a much less steep hill, with a normal ditch on one side, and an eight-foot-deep drainage ditch on the other. No problem, until the rainy season, when the road was rutted and mired and slippery as hell. I hit the embankment once when my car started slipping and sliding, and went in the shallow ditch a lot, because I was so afraid of the big ditch. The neighbors were kind, and owned big tractors, so the worst I suffered was muddy feet from slogging up the hill to get Paul or Wade to come tow me out again.

More recently, I backed into a vehicle at the dry cleaner's. A lady in a small pickup pulled up to the drive through while I was buckling up, and between the slight hill I was parked on, the dog box on the back of my truck, and the spot she was parked, I could not see her vehicle at all. It was a terrible lifetime of a few seconds while I threw it in park and got out of the seatbelt to see whether I'd hurt someone! (I changed dry cleaners after that! I also learned that husbands get very suspicious when you call to ask where the insurance card is.)
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 06-19-2012, 12:24 AM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
I passed the Esmeralda County Sheriff once while he was transporting a "perp" in the back of his car. He was going about 50 across the Nevada desert, south of Tonopah.

Well, after following him about 7 miles at this speed, watching him lecture the guy in the back seat, I picked it up to about 57 (limit was 55 back then) and took about 2 and a half minutes to sloooooowly creep past him (no traffic in sight) while eating a sandwich, and looking over and nodding to him as our windows got even.

Once I got clear, and over a small rise, I nailed it and opened up a gap, and kept doing that all the way into Tonapah, where the Nye County Sheriff was waitin' for me (check a map, its hilarious!)

Got stopped, and made to wait for the Esmeralda cop. He pulls over, chews my ass up and down, assures me "Your ass is mine if I wasn't so busy!" and other such hollow threats. He mounts up and drives off.

So, me and the Nye guy are standing there, and he tells me to slow down and be careful and all that, and then, just before driving off, admits that the "perp" in the back of the other cop's car punked him for letting me pass him!

In retrospect, some of the best 15 minutes I've ever spent!
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 06-19-2012, 12:30 AM
Taomist Taomist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Nice thread timing. I just took off the driver's side mirror on my father in law's otherwise immaculate pickup. To be fair, I hadn't driven it last, and the wheel was turned in such a way that backing up a mere foot out of park turned it just enough to hit the brace on the carport. But holy shit, I feel so fucking stupid.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 06-19-2012, 05:02 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Mm, just this Sunday. Was driving the car to my parent's place after attending a sleepover-wedding, was tired as hell having dropped people off on the way. Long story short, I was pulling out into the street, checked my mirrors to make sure that the street was clear and as soon as I'm out some guy is hugging my rear bumper and honking his horn profusely. I managed to miss him entirely when I checked the mirror, and I'm very lucky I didn't get rear-ended.

Last edited by kombatminipig; 06-19-2012 at 05:02 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 06-19-2012, 05:34 AM
Veneriable Slacks Veneriable Slacks is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Driving along a 6 lane highway (3 eastbound - 3 westbound), with the left lane under construction, the speed limit 45 mph because of it being a construction zone, I going 55 in the right lane. A maniac zooms up on me and wants to pass. He flashes the brights and expects me to switch lanes. Hello?? The left lane is for passing. The moron finally swings around to left, then back in front of me and slams on his brakes - literally locks 'em up. I was ready for it and had already slowed down. My mistake was not having a gun to shoot the idiot.

Gun control is hitting your target.

Last edited by Veneriable Slacks; 06-19-2012 at 05:34 AM.. Reason: i'm an idiot
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 06-19-2012, 06:28 AM
davidm davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 5,965
Years ago my brother and I were camping on Assateague Island. We decided to go looking for the beach. We got in the car, drove down the road and saw a sign; "To The Beach". So I turned and followed the sign and... ended up on the beach. Literally on the beach, stuck in the sand.

We walked to the campground office and they called a tow truck to get us out. The woman said it happened all the time. To this day I'm not sure if that was the truth or she was just being nice to the idiot kid who drove into the sand.

I've also considered the possibility that it was a setup to make money for the towing service.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 06-19-2012, 07:15 AM
TokyoBayer TokyoBayer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
When I was in high school, my father let me drive the Fiat on days it wasn't his turn for the car pool.

Coming home from school, I saw all my friends who were having to walk, because they didn't have a car. "Suckers!" as I waved to them. Except there was a car stopped right in the street waiting for the car ahead of it to make a left in the middle of the block. I hit the car hard enough to send it into the front car.

Then all my friends got to walk by and laugh at the real sucker.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 06-19-2012, 07:57 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Just the other day, I was driving through a DC neighborhood, every block was a four way stop. Drive, stop briefly, go; etc. etc. And then I got to a block that was a two way stop, I assumed the traffic coming along the cross street had a stop sign and I stopped briefly at my sign and then pulled out into the intersection and everyone's day got a little more interesting for a few seconds.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:36 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Oh, so many. I'm especially bad with left turns.

During my driving test, I made a left turn from the straight lane instead of the left turn lane. This was an automatic failure.

One dark night I was trying to get to a friend's house in Philly, and instead of being in the left turn lane I ended up a lane further to the left - in front of oncoming traffic with my blinker on. I realized it before their light turned green, because someone politely honked and then let me back into the left turn lane.

It sort of happened again another time in Philly. It was a confusing intersection - two oncoming lanes of traffic, a divider, then another oncoming lane of traffic on the other side of the divider, then two lanes going the opposite direction. I thought I was in the left turn lane, but I was really in front of oncoming traffic on the other side of the divider. The driver who had right of way was rightfully pissed, but I swear to Og they designed Philly roads to cause as many accidents as humanly possible.

Then another fun one - I'd just gotten my new car, a 2009 Honda Fit, and was driving home to Michigan excited to show it off. We stopped for gas and when I left the parking spot, I had to back up to get out. I ended up backing right into a concrete post that was juuuust short enough to be invisible from my rearview. Caused $500 worth of damage to my brand new car...

The reason I drive so defensively is because I know there are other people like me out there.

Last edited by Spice Weasel; 06-19-2012 at 08:36 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 06-19-2012, 01:40 PM
nogwart nogwart is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2012
I was on the last stretch of a 2-lane road with about 1 mile left to my house after my grueling 1.5 hour commute when I saw another car approaching very fast behind me. As I watched, it became increasing clear that he was well over the speed limit, probably in a huge hurry, and would "catch up" to me at around the spot where I'd need to turn left into my driveway. Worried that he would attempt to pass me at the time I needed to turn, I thought I would be polite and get over into the left lane since I would be turning left into my driveway, thus allowing him to continue in his lane without having to brake to allow my turn. As I watched his approach in my mirror, I eased over into the left lane and put on my turn signal. When he was almost about to pass me on the right, I saw for the first time a motorcyclist heading directly towards me in the opposite direction, now that I was in the wrong lane. Since the vehicle behind was now going around me on the right, I could no longer move back into the right lane, so I ran off into the left shoulder directly in front of my house while the poor motorcyclist was obviously slamming on his brakes, swerving, desperately trying to avoid a head-on collision.

I made it safely into my driveway before any collision, and while I was relieved but pissed at my own inattention and idiocy, I knew I probably made the other two drivers very angry indeed..... For days, all I could think was, THEY KNOW WHERE I LIVE!
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 06-19-2012, 01:47 PM
Colophon Colophon is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
I'd had my first-ever brand-new car about two weeks before I finally cleared all the crap out of my garage so I could store my pride and joy in there rather than on the driveway. I'd measured the garage door and knew it would be tight, but I'm good at parking, right? I even backed into the garage to make it easier, so I could use the mirrors to line up with the doorway.

I got the mirrors past the entrance, which is the hard part, because the mirrors are the widest part of the car, right? Unfortunately I then took my eye off the ball and scraped the wheel arch right along the sharp metal edge of the garage doorway.

I've never hit another car, apart from the odd tiny nudge while parking. The nearest I've come to a full-speed blunder was hitting a kerb where the road narrowed on a bend. That was also in the brand-new car, and took a nice chunk out of the alloy wheel.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 06-19-2012, 02:00 PM
Bookkeeper Bookkeeper is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Ottawa, Canuckistan
Posts: 2,264
Quote:
Originally Posted by Taomist View Post
Nice thread timing. I just took off the driver's side mirror on my father in law's otherwise immaculate pickup. To be fair, I hadn't driven it last, and the wheel was turned in such a way that backing up a mere foot out of park turned it just enough to hit the brace on the carport. But holy shit, I feel so fucking stupid.
I noticed the right side mirror was damaged on our car a few years ago (I suspect someone hit it in a parking lot), and ended up replacing it. About a week later I was backing out of the garage and wiped the brand new mirror off on the edge of the door.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 06-19-2012, 02:39 PM
chizzuk chizzuk is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronX View Post
I've heard of 2 instances where people "thought the person ahead had gone" and almost hit a stationary vehicle ahead of them. In one instance they actually did.

Another time someone reversed into a parked car. That was in line with theirs. Both cars were in a driveway and the inner car was trying to get out.
I rear-ended someone in this manner on a Beltway off ramp in November. No merge area, so you had to stop and wait for a gap. There was a big gap, so the car in front of me started to go and I turned back, checked briefly to make sure the gap was still big enough for me to fit in, and accelerated with my head still turned. WHAM!

You guessed it. Car ahead of me had stopped again. To this day, I don't know why. There was plenty of space for both of us. But it was 100% my fault for not looking back.

Fortunately, I was only doing 5mph, so aside from a good jolt, there was no damage to either car. We pulled off to exchange info (the other driver was very nice about it since it was immediately obvious that no one was hurt and the cars were fine) and went on our ways. Nothing ever came of it.

I also learned that one should not store anything with a long handle (like a snow brush) in the front passenger seat because if you slam on the brakes, it may slide forward, catch on the shifter, and slip the car into neutral. Oops.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 06-19-2012, 03:30 PM
Asimovian Asimovian is online now
Pseudolegal
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern California
Posts: 7,911
I've got a couple.

In May of 1997, I was driving down a large street in Pasadena when I noticed I was coming up on a police trap. Not much of a trap, since it was really obvious and meant to be seen. There were a couple of cop cars and a couple of their motorcycles sitting at the side of the road just on the far side of a large crosswalk. I noted this to my then-wife as we were driving up to it. And then I watched as a crossing guard crossed the street. I slowed down. As she got beyond the halfway mark, she took her sign down and kept walking, so I cruised right on through. Right in front of the cops. Who were not amused that I didn't know that she needed to be completely clear of the intersection before proceeding. *sigh*

The other involved being at my former mother-in-law's house and going out to move my car so that someone else could get into her driveway later on. The driveway is a fairly narrow one that curves down a steep slope. As I started backing down, I realized that I was too close to the wall on my passenger side. So I put it in drive to move back uphill and start over. Except I had stopped on a portion of the driveway that was covered in wet leaves. I kept trying to accelerate back uphill, but with no success. So I backed further down, very slowly, making contact with the wall with my mirror, hoping I could find a spot with some traction. No luck. Back up a little further, scrape the mirror more, still no traction. I kept this up for several minutes, not having the sense to go inside and ask for help. I could hear the mirror starting to groan from the pressure, and sure enough, eventually, it popped. On the plus side, once I'd managed to break the mirror, I no longer had any qualms about backing down the rest of the way. It was fairly embarrasing, though, to have to explain to my wife why we had a side-view mirror on the way there, but not going home.

This last one doesn't really count as a driving mistake so much as poor decision-making that involved a car. Not long after my marriage ended and I was setting up my new bachelor pad, I was very excited about getting a new TV, so I ran off to Costco to buy one I'd researched. I did not, however, manage to factor into that decision how I was going to fit a large flat-screen TV in my compact vehicle. It took me quite some time to get ahold of a friend with a minivan who could come rescue me, and in the hour interim, I got a number of laughs and funny looks from people in the parking lot who had observed me trying to defy physics in order to make the damn thing fit.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 06-19-2012, 03:48 PM
davidm davidm is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Near Philadelphia PA, USA
Posts: 5,965
I remembered another.

This was back before they had the remote key fobs (or if they did exist they weren't available to plebeians like me).

I parked my new (to me) car in a shopping center parking lot which had a slight downhill slope. I don't know where my mind was, but somehow I unknowingly managed to leave it in neutral with the parking brake off. I got out of the car, shut the door, and locked it. I then turned and began walking away from it.

For some reason I glanced back at the car. It was slowly rolling downhill and picking up speed!

I ran back and, while running alongside it, managed to fish my keys out of my pocket, stick the key in the lock, open the door, jump in and hit the brake pedal.

A couple that was walking across the lot saw the whole thing and said that I was white as a sheet.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 06-19-2012, 03:54 PM
Atomic Mama Atomic Mama is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
OK, I live in a state that REQUIRES a full stop if anyone is in a designated crosswalk.

Today, I was turning left out of my condo complex, and a guy was about to step in front of me to walk across the driveway (NOT a designated crosswalk). He STOPPED, he waved me across, so I TURNED ...

practically INTO a big pickup truck! Whoops! I saw the stopped pedestrian waving, and thought he was motioning ME to proceed.

Yeah, dumb. Glad I didn't kill either of us.

Seems like he was signaling the truck. Ooops.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 06-19-2012, 03:57 PM
Atomic Mama Atomic Mama is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
OK, I live in a state that REQUIRES a full stop if anyone is in a designated crosswalk.

Today, I was turning left out of my condo complex, and a guy was about to step in front of me to walk across the driveway (NOT a designated crosswalk). He STOPPED, he waved me across, so I TURNED ...

practically INTO a big pickup truck! Whoops! I saw the stopped pedestrian waving, and thought he was motioning ME to proceed.

Yeah, dumb. Glad I didn't kill either of us.

Seems like he was signaling the truck. Ooops.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 06-19-2012, 04:06 PM
Kenm Kenm is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Hours of fun. (YouTube.)
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 06-19-2012, 09:20 PM
Waenara Waenara is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2002
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreasyJack View Post
I know this is the topic of much debate in some quarters, but if your mirrors are adjusted properly you shouldn't need to check your blind spot because you shouldn't have one. See here: http://www.caranddriver.com/features...id-blind-spots
I read about this on the SDMB a while ago and I tried it, and it does work for getting rid of blind spots. However, I ended up switching back to how I had the mirrors before (where you can just barely see the sides of the car in the mirrors), because I find it better for backing up (I need to back into a tight spot to park at home).


My story for the thread: One day I was parking in the parkade at my university that was under construction, so there were less spots available than usual. The spot I ended up finding was close to a big concrete pillar on the passenger side, and there was plenty of room on the drivers side when I parked the car. When I came back later in the day, some jackass had parked his giant truck over the line - I actually couldn't get in the drivers' side door and I had to climb in from the passenger side. I started to pull out, being very cautious to not scrape up against the truck on my drivers' side, and then a bunch of construction workers walked behind my car so I had to stop and wait. I then proceeded, while trying to keep an eye on the truck and also look in the rearview mirror to avoid any more pedestrians. I forgot about the pillar on the passenger side, and in my efforts to avoid the truck I ended up backing up next to the pillar and almost completely shearing off my passenger-side mirror (it was dangling by wires). Luckily I had duct tape with me (and my car is almost the same color as duct tape - from a distance you couldn't even see the "repair"!). Ended up costing over $200 to fix.

Last edited by Waenara; 06-19-2012 at 09:24 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 06-19-2012, 10:25 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 19,462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kemanchi View Post
It had been a long ass day at work--10.5 hours in the office. I just hope I'm not that unaware again.
Long days mean we should make an extra effort while driving, as you've just learned. I learned this myself about 5 years ago when I had a near miss. We were really behind on a project, so not only was I working an extra 1.5 hours a day, I was also working every Saturday and some Sundays too. I didn't realize how badly worn down I was until I had to make a turn at a little island with a turn lane, and failed to look left before turning. Thank god no one was coming, because I would have been broadsided if they were.

I've never seen another intersection like this and I'm not doing a good job describing it, so I drew you guys a picture. I was at the star when I abruptly turned left. All traffic is two-way, so if you needed to you could also turn right from where I was - never seen anyone do it, though.
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 06-19-2012, 11:36 PM
Taomist Taomist is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
I can definitely say I'm said 'fool' in the phrase "Gods look out for drunks, fools and children", and here's why:


A couple of decades ago, I was driving a rental car in Oregon, at night. Long highway, tree-lined, very dark, no traffic, no street lights. Couldn't figure out how to turn on highbeams so I worked with lowbeams. I was trying very hard to keep the solid line to my left, but the road just seemed...weird. Very twisty, narrow road.

Yeah, not so narrow....FOR A BIKE LANE.

To this day I can't believe I did that, and still occasionally give a nod to WhoEver was smart enough to get everybody off the road before I was on it. Just thinking about actually hitting a biker makes me shudder.

Last edited by Taomist; 06-19-2012 at 11:37 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 06-20-2012, 03:41 AM
kombatminipig kombatminipig is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veneriable Slacks View Post
Driving along a 6 lane highway (3 eastbound - 3 westbound), with the left lane under construction, the speed limit 45 mph because of it being a construction zone, I going 55 in the right lane. A maniac zooms up on me and wants to pass. He flashes the brights and expects me to switch lanes. Hello?? The left lane is for passing. The moron finally swings around to left, then back in front of me and slams on his brakes - literally locks 'em up. I was ready for it and had already slowed down. My mistake was not having a gun to shoot the idiot.

Gun control is hitting your target.
While you win at driving, you fail at reading the OP.

Last edited by kombatminipig; 06-20-2012 at 03:41 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 06-20-2012, 09:02 AM
cards cards is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
This will help solve all your driving problems:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwqPYeTSYng
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.