Surely, one of history's dumbest car accidents

I witnessed what was surely one of the dumbest car accidents in history yesterday.

Around noon, I was driving to a friend’s house along my neighborhood’s major street. It’s a divided street, and I’d just passed an intersection that has a short lane for people making U-turns. There are three lanes of traffic, all of them packed.

I notice the light is green, yet I’m having to slow down. There’s a green mivivan edging out of the U-turn lane with more deliberation than is strictly necessary. Annoying, but what can you do?

The green minivan then tries to cut across two lanes of traffic to dart into a shopping center parking lot. What the hell? It’s not the last entrance-do these people need Doritos that bad? Will they get a fire if they’re a minute late to Blockbuster?

I’ve stopped because I had to slow down. The silver sports car in the far right lane is going along its merry way when it finds a minivan in its path. The sports car catches the minivan’s end, spinning it a half circle and sending its bumper off.

I felt so sorry for the people in the silver car. I’ve seen people do stupid stuff while driving, but the green minivan gets the prize.

It makes you wonder, doesn’t it? Why do we even bother requiring a license to operate a motor vehicle? Does anyone actually fail the driver’s test?

It must be a political philosophy: a mobile society is stronger economically. Yet too many of us behind the wheel cannot seem to grasp that bad driving can result in death. It’s scary.

Perhaps licenses should just be handed out in CrackerJack boxes.

I routinely see drivers running red lights around here at least five seconds after the light has changed. Are they really in such a hurry that death is a viable option?

Arizona is one of the worst states when it comes to red light runners. And I’ve noticed more and more of the type that Mama Tiger mentioned. I’ve gotten into the habit of pausing and looking both ways after the light turns green if I’m the first car in line at the intersection.

Another thing I’m noticing more of are drivers who make a left turns at stop lights. It’s becoming more common to see the left turn driver take off to beat the oncomming traffic when the light changes, instead of yielding like they’re suppose to.

I think in many places, Driver’s Ed isn’t offered in the schools anymore due to budget restraints. But that’s no excuse for people my age who have been driving for 25 years or more.

One of my biggest peeves is that it seems that turn signals are no longer standard equipment on cars. At least most people drive like they don’t exist. And how can you expect the police to enforce the laws, let alone have respect for them, when they are often the biggest offenders of things like this?

My husband is sleeping now, so I’ll have to ask him later about where this is, but he tells me there’s a desert somewhere, where there’s a lone tree standing. Since people are inclined to drive where they’re looking, and being the only thing to look at for miles in any direction, that poor tree has been hit by cars multiple times. Now that’s got to be one of history’s dumbest car accidents!

As I was thinking about this thread, I realized that I have pulled a dumb move that could have been a nasty time for me and another vehicle.

I have lived in small towns all my life. My first experience driving on a one way street was while on vacation in San Diego. I was driving on a four lane, one way street and wanted to turn left. I signaled and as I started to turn, a car zoomed by me on the left, at about 30 MPH. I then realized my mistake. Instead of turning from the far left lane, I had two empty lanes to my left and was treating the street as a four lane, two way street. Luckily, the other car had another lane to swerve into when I started my turn.

To this day, I still have anxiety when I have to deal with one way streets in unfamiliar areas.

It wasn’t the first time I had been involved with one way errors. In high school, I was with a friend whose parents were renting a place in San Diego for the summer. He was driving in the downtown area and we took a wrong turn and headed the wrong way on a one way street.

(Old joke: When pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one way street, the driver was asked by the cop, “Do you know where you were going?” The driver replies, “Wherever it was, we’re late, everyone else is leaving.”)

I was sitting at a light at a busy intersection waiting to go straight. The turn arrows came on for both sides so the cars in the turn lane started to turn as they were supposed to do. Then the arrow turned yellow as usual and the last two cars made a desparate attempt to make it through. Nothing out of the ordinary. But of course as soon as the arrow turned red the opposite side’s straight lanes turned green and some wahoo gunned it from the straight lane right into the last guy making the left turn.

I’m not sure who was more stupid: the guy who tried to make the light or the guy who gunned it off the line and slammed into a car not more than 20 feet in front of him.