Drive and learn – even at age 72

The in basket: I recently had two experiences worth passing along, as both carried a lesson for me – and maybe for you, now.

It annoys me when motorcycles are what I consider excessively loud, almost belligerently so. I wasn’t a big fan of loud pipes when I was younger and am less so now at age 72.

And I have the senior citizen’s bemusement at the younger generation’s infatuation with their smart phones, to the point they’ll take their eyes off the road while driving to read or even send a message.

The out basket: Somewhere recently I read a remark to the effect that “loud equals safety” regarding motorcycles. It’s clear meaning was that motorcyclists can make up for their lesser visibility with a roar that makes them more noticeable to drivers of larger vehicles.

A day or two later, I was driving south on Highway 16 near Purdy when I decided I had better get out of the inside lane as drivers behind me seemed anxious to pass.

I checked the blind spot to my right rear and saw nothing. I began my lane change when I heard  a motorcycle rumble made by a ‘cycle that was by then abreast of me in the outside lane. I moved hastily back into my lane and the motorcyclist passed me, not seeming to have been alarmed by what almost happened.

Had I not heard the sound, I very well could have collided with him, changing both of our lives to perhaps a ruinous degree.

I’ve had and even been responsible for a few collisions in my 55-plus years of driving, but they all have been minor and no one was hurt. I came close that day near Purdy to being unable to say that any more.

A couple of weeks after that, I was driving on Tracyton Beach Road in Central Kitsap, in that final turn one makes when nearing Riddell Road. It has a slight rise to boot, Some yahoo in a black pickup truck was coming in the other direction right at me and the Honda SUV ahead of me, trying to pass.

Both of us hit the brakes and moved to the shoulder. The pickup driver also braked quickly and slid back in behind the car it was passing.

By happenstance, a Kitsap County Sheriff’s SUV was the next vehicle the Honda and I met. He evidently hadn’t been close enough to see the near collision. The Honda driver flagged him down and presumably reported it. I tried to add my two cents worth but the officer hurried past. I doubt that he was able to catch up to the pickup on such a winding road, with the head start the driver had.

Anyway, I’m now more tolerant of loud motorcycles, though they’re still an annoyance roaring by my neighborhood at 2 a.m. I guess one doesn’t have to be a jerk to not quiet his bike.

A passenger in the back seat that day on Tracyton Beach Road remarked, “Thank God you were alert,” when the pickup driver took the idiotic chance. To me, it was a measure of how little time I might have to change the radio station or climate control setting or otherwise tend to something other than driving, You smart phone users could use the same lesson.

One thought on “Drive and learn – even at age 72

  1. So you were driving on the freeway in the wrong lane with your mirrors mis-adjusted. And you are the person that provides comments on driving.

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