Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It rained this evening and the roads were slick. My youngest son and I were waiting on the parking lot that is usually a 45-50 mph 2 lane road - the only one into the peninsula where we live. I thought it might be a perfect time to discuss driving safety, since he'll be that age before I care to think about it -- and since he was trapped beside me in the front seat.

Oh, and he started it.

"Mom. Why are there more crashes on rainy days?"

"Why do you think there are more crashes? What is different about driving in the rain?"

"The roads are wet."

"OK. They're wet. What difference does that make?"

"They're slippery."

"What else is different?"

"It's raining."

(Trying very hard NOT to roll my eyes)
"So what else does that change?"

"How far you can see?"

"Exactly! So what do people do differently when they drive in the rain?"

"Nothing." (smarter than I thought)

"And what SHOULD they do differently?"

"Drive slower and leave more distance."

"Very good!"

We saw a flatbed/tow truck pass by in the opposite direction and traffic began to move as if someone had pulled the drain plug in the sink. Just as he said, very few people were paying attention to the road conditions in their haste to make up for lost time. Sigh.

When I got home, I noticed that my oldest son had not yet arrived -- he should have beat us by 30 minutes or so. Neither vehicle involved in the crash looked at all like his, so I wasn't too worried, but he usually lets me know if he's going to be late.

He had good reason not to this time.

He was much closer to the crash than we were.

He told me that he noticed the car in front of him starting to fishtail, so he backed off to give the driver space to recover -- or at least not to involve him in what was about to happen. She bounced off the road, over the curb, and started to slow down. He thought she was going to stay off, so he sped up slightly and passed her safely. He glanced in the rear view mirror in time to see her spin back onto the road and crash into the vehicle just behind him.

"So you narrowly avoided the crash?" I asked.

"No, mom. It was at least 2 car lengths behind me."

Folks, I'd have needed a change of underwear if I'd been that close. I'm very proud of my son. Not only was he unfazed by the crash, but he stopped to offer assistance (no injuries, thank goodness), waited until the tow truck had hauled off the wreckage and gave one of the drivers involved a ride home.


Sabra said...

I'm impressed by your sons. You've obviously taught them critical thinking skills.

Rain is always a cause of multiple accidents here. This is because it rains so seldom that when it does, the oil that's dried onto the streets lifts up and makes them extra-slick. This is something no one from out of town realizes until after their first wreck. They think a little drizzle means they're fine. They're wrong.

Judy said...

We have periodic droughts here and the first rains after a dry spell are particularly treacherous. Add to that the fact that people don't get enough experience with foul weather driving and even the locals run into each other on a regular basis when it rains. Worse yet when there is snow or ice on the road!