A Rant: Distracted Drivers - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 02:55 AM Thread Starter
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Location: New Milford, CT
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Angry A Rant: Distracted Drivers

I just was released from the hospital. Iíve been in a medium-serious auto collision yesterday afternoon. Was stopped in traffic at a red light. A lady in a big SUV hit me from behind at high speed; she didnít even brake to avoid hitting meóI must have been invisible to her in the fog, or she wasnít looking at the road at all and didnít see me, as a result. Impact was so great that the in-dash CD/radio was ripped out by the impact, landing in the back seat. The bolts holding my seat to the floor were sheared off from the impact. I have a lower spine injury as a result.

I have to see an insurance adjuster on Friday, whose coming out to look at the vehicle. I also have to consult with a personal injury attorney right away. My mobility both physically (due to injuries) and vehicle-wise is severely limited at the moment.

The thing thatís most disturbing about this is the fact that this is now the FIFTH time that I have been rear-ended while at a stoplight, since 2002. Iíve never been involved in any kind of auto collision prior to that. I've driven over 2 million accident-free miles over much of the 20th century. Now itís multiple times in one year that I've been hit while stopped at a light.

Iíve driven over 2 million accident-free miles and then all of a sudden, itís like someone put a sign on my vehicle saying ďhit meĒ.

Dec 2002: Lady in a Subaru hits me on Newtown Road in Danbury, while Iím waiting in traffic for a red light. No damage to my vehicle that time.

July 2003: Lady talking on cell phone hits me while Iím sitting in Norwalk traffic. No damage to my vehicle that time either.

Feb 2007: Pickup truck hits me while Iím waiting at red light at Shop-Rite parking lot exit. His plow lift dents my rear door; claim filed & paid.

March 2007: Teen driver hits rear quarter panel of my other car while Iím sitting in traffic, at same Shop-Rite parking lot. Claim filed & paid.

Nov 2007: Lady hits me in rear at high speed, causing extensive damage. Claim filed. Injury treated at hospital. Currently on meds for pain and inflammation of the spine.

Iím really getting sick of this sudden rapid increase in the number of drivers on the road who seem to be paying attention to everything BUT the road ahead of them. This time Iím seeing a personal injury attorney. I donít like to do this, but I donít know if Iíll be stuck with back problems for the rest of my life because of this. It seems like I just get my truck back from repair, all shiny and new again, and then someone ELSE hits it again.

Something needs to be done to modify these driversí behavior. They canít continue treating their driving responsibilities as secondary to their cell phone conversation, putting on makeup, or whatever they happen to be doing when they donít see the big, red SUV with the three brake lights in front of them.

I think itís time to put strobe lights inside taillight units. So when you brake, bright flashing strobes light up and grab a non-attentive driverís attention, just like emergency vehicle lights. I had been using my 4-way flashers when stopped at traffic lights shortly after the last accident, but recently stopped doing so because it sometimes confused traffic behind me and they would try to go around me, thinking I was disabled. Thereís got to be a better solution. Maybe, a Humvee, or better yet, a Sherman tank.

Rant over. Sorry. I just had to vent.
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post #2 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 03:17 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

Sorry to hear about your injuries. Hopefully you won't have any long term effects from your back.
I wish there was something that could be done to correct the driving of most people. I could go on for hours about the stuff I see people doing here in Atlanta. Like you I've been driving a LONG time, about 37 years, and never been at fault in an accident. I wish states/cities would ban cell phone use when driving. Oh wait, then the cops would have to get off theirs to make the stop.
I am by no means a slow poke on the roads but I do pay attention and actually know what I'm doing. Here's one of my favorite pictures of me and my car. No, it's not on a public road. This is what I do for fun.

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post #3 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 03:54 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

In Austraia it is illegal to use a cell phone when driving, The cops do do something about it. Unfortunately though it still doesn't stop low grade drivers from being a danger on the road.

Hope you get better soon.
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 07:52 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

I hope your recovery goes well Mark...

Sounds like you are a magnet for other vehicles. I've had similar luck, but not as drastic. The worst was hitting a black cow one night on Friday the 13th at that. Really messed up my truck. Then a drunk, no license and no insurance rams me in the rear without breaking... my radio does a trick similar to yours and flies out of the dash into my front seat. Fortunately I only had a mild neck bruise from whiplash and recovered in a couple of weeks. No serious harm done, other than my poor truck. Shortly after having it repaired for the second time, a woman blind sides me out of nowhere, again, no insurance. That truck got it from all angles, front back and side. It was Ford tough though.

I'm not sure of what the answer is, but I agree that it would be nice to be able to do something about the crazy drivers out there. Just the other day a girl was riding the bumper of a guy I was riding with. We were in stop and go type traffic and he made statement that she needed to get off his bumper... then a few seconds later... bump! She rear ended us! Didn't hurt anything since she hit his hitch that was sticking out 8-10" or so. I think she was high myself, but who knows.

There needs to be a nationwide law against cell phone use while driving. It is causing way too many wrecks.

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post #5 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 08:05 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

we have a saying here: "better many small accidents, than one BIG one"
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 09:33 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

I totally see your frustration. I have been driving for twenty years accedent free and just in the past two weeks someone has hit me twice. The first was in a parking lot where the pasenger opend her door HARD into the side of our van putting a nice dent in the drivers side door. Our van is a 2005 uplander so its in new condition so I filed a clame turns out it is $1000 worth of damage
The second one just this week, a driver was stopped at a red light and just as I was traveling through the intersection on my green he came out and hit the side of my van doing $5000 worth of damage If I hadn't swerved to miss him I would have hit him head on
Cell phones are a big cause of problems at the very least people should be using hands free devices. I've seen people putting on makeup, reading a newspaper and eating. There defiantly needs to be a stronger police presence on the roads as lately there is far less police around than even 5 years ago.
Our city just implemented Red light speed cameras these cameras were only catching people who ran red lights but now they will also nail speeders. We currently have 60 of them in operation throughout the city.

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post #7 of 16 Old 11-22-07, 10:47 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

I am sorry to hear about your accident Basspig, hopefully you'll recover just fine and the only pain you'll feel is that from your subs!

It really seems as though just in the last 10 years or so driving has become so second nature to people that they just throw out their responsibility. They forget that they are driving 3,000lbs+ of steel at high speeds. This is no big deal but last night a lady in the safeway parking lot turned out of her row right in front of me as I was driving down the main drag. She looked right at me but continued without touching the brakes. Had I not stopped I would have hit her. Seems like everyone is in too much of a darned hurry just don't care about what might happen. Maybe new, quiet, 'safe' vehicles are to blame. I wish we could subject everybody to the forces of a collision before they get their license so they have respect for what they are doing.
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post #8 of 16 Old 11-23-07, 05:40 AM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

I hope your recovery goes well Mark, along with agreeing with everyone's comments, I really like your idea of a better brake light warning system .
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post #9 of 16 Old 11-23-07, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

Here in CT, it IS against the law to use a cell phone while driving, but I see people fifty times a day doing it, so no one's paying attention. But it doesn't have to be a cell phone. A lot of teenagers are just plain 'spaced out' while driving, especially when there's a friend in the car with whom they are conversing and they don't notice the line of stopped traffic. I witnessed a fatal accident about ten years ago in which a pickup truck was waiting to make a left turn and was struck by an auto filled with teenagers. The car went under the truck, it's right rear wheel crushing the driver of the car. The thing I remember most was the truck flying up in the air and bouncing back down, and 3 very obviously scared teens rapidly exiting that car.

It does not go unnoticed by me, the coincidence between the purchase of the Ford Explorer and the sudden crop of rear end collisions. It is as if people can't see the color red. Or large vehicles directly in front of them. Back when I had the Caddy and the Olds, I never got hit--not so much as even a light tap. I used to drive a black pickup, and never got hit in that either. Then I got the SUV and all of a sudden I'm getting hit with regularity. Circumstantially, it does make one wonder...

I'm no expert on statistics or the dynamics of public behavior behind the wheel, but, all other things being assumed similar as always, the new things seem to be more electronic gadgets to be played with while driving. I can't say whether there is another factor, such as a fundamental shift in public attitudes toward driving. The woman that hit me wasn't born yesterday--she was born in '67, so old enough to have had some experience driving, I should hope. Perhaps in her case it was a momentary lapse of consciousness, or maybe overwork and lack of sleep. Lord knows I can understand that people are working two jobs just to pay the rent and taxes these days and I've watched television documentaries on sleepy drivers and the carnage that results when someone loses consciousness behind the wheel. However, I've been injured, I've already lost a day of work (I'm self-employed and losing a day of field engineering means $750 lost to a competing contractor), and I'll lose more days until the insurance companies settle on who's liable and can release funds to handle a car rental.

For my next replacement vehicle, I'll think I'll be looking for something like a retired city plow truck. I don't feel like going through this again with another SUV made of sheet metal.

Occasionally you see a PSA on television that dramatizes a point about what a drunk driver did to a family, or something of similar ilk, but I think the vast majority just ignore these ads, thinking "they're just actors and it's a drama", so I don't have much hope that an ad campaign would be effective at all. What other methods of getting the word out to drivers --especially of non-English-speaking nature (the last two that hit me were both Hispanic) would be effective? I think word would travel like wildfire if they simply made distracted driving a felony and automatic arrest with a minimum 30-day jail sentence, but it would be a challenge to prove that the person was distracted and not having a seizure or a bout of narcolepsy at the moment before impact. Circumstantially, it should be pretty easy to tell, especially in a case like mine--the woman would have to be blind or unconscious not to see a line of stopped vehicles at a red light.

I've got to make an appointment with an orthopedic specialist on Monday and start a physical therapy program. I've decided to consult with an attorney, which is very un-like me, but in this case, I see no excuse for this type of accident and I've got a constant pain to remind me of it. I can't even haul my own trash out to the recycling center, and I can't lift my own daughter without pain now. Considering that this is #5 since 2002, I'm getting pretty fed up in general.

I wish to thank everyone here for the outpouring of kind words. It's not like that on some other boards. I get a lot of insults and smug remarks hurled at me on another board where I mentioned my rant in their "rants" discussion area.
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-21-08, 02:33 PM
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Re: A Rant: Distracted Drivers

Down the street from me is our local post office. Behind it is a nursing home. The elderly seniors
are the worst drivers I've seen. One of the main problems is that simply won't look behind them
when they back up. They just back up. Perhaps they have arthritis and it's difficult for them
to turn their heads but that doesn't improve their driving. A couple of years ago, an elderly
woman driver backed into my parked car. I was watching her. She just put her foot on the pedel
and backed up trying to use the rear mirror as her reference which is never enough. Another one
ran over someone and killed them a few years ago. So I'm very careful when I go to the post
office and if I see one of the nursing home residents getting in their car I move out of the
way to make sure they don't hit me or my car when they back up. I'm not
sure they're distracted so much as their reflexes are poor. A number of them appear to be in their eighties. I don't think they're 100 % alert. I recall the old woman who backed into me looked very disoriented and confused.
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