Open letter to one lucky driver


The clearest detail I remember about your car was the smoke coming off your tires, before we nearly collided on Amador Avenue Sunday night. You were stopped at a red light and decided to peel out, gunning your engine and shooting out under the traffic signal. Maybe you were showing off, or maybe you were just having fun, seeing what your car could do. I imagine you feeling powerful and free that hot summer evening.

Heading north on Mesquite Street was me, entering the intersection under the green light as you made your move. I stomped on my brakes to avoid T-boning you. This may have saved your life, but no reward or thanks are needed. Your savior here was no act of virtue on my part, nor the intercession of a god, but the rules of the road and a fellow person’s willingness to follow them. That’s why you are going about your week now with your body and your impressively loud car both intact.

O, arbitrary rules of the road! Why drive on the right side instead of the left? Why pay attention to painted lanes on the pavement? Who is anyone to tell me I must drive my car at 25 miles per hour when I am confident negotiating that road at 40? Yet this system of conventions and ordinances helped protect you even after you dispensed with them: You had unseen arms around you. You were also lucky that the driver coming your way was paying attention, not looking at a mobile phone; was driving the speed limit; reacted quickly; and had brakes and tires in working order. A lot of factors lined up in your favor.

So, congratulations, man-child; gg! You were spared a lesson in what the impact of a 3,200-pound vehicle on your left side would feel like, the injuries it can inflict even at that lower speed, and just how disruptive and expensive a serious car accident can be.

But don’t confuse your luck with freedom.