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Jason Holliston
Monday, August 09, 2004  
Patience, Anyone?

On my drive to work this morning, I saw an auto accident directly in front of me. Before I go any further, let me assure you that it was a minor bumper-to-bumper thing, and it was pretty obvious that the worse injury suffered this morning will be someone's wallet. I was driving down Division street: a four-lane, two-way road with no turning lane. Car A decides they're going to turn left, puts their blinker on, and slows to a stop. Car B makes a quick decision that they can't be bothered to brake, and quickly gets over to the right lane to go around them. Unfortunately, car B turned about 1/10th of a second too late, and collides with car A's bumper while going around. All pretty harmless, with both cars driving to a side street to talk about it.

Why did this happen, though? Lack of driving skills? Inclement weather? No, it was due -- one-hundred percent due -- to lack of patience. This is a sin that I'm guilty of quite regularly, and it's become a sort of inner jihad to try and tame. I do understand that it's a difficult thing. But seriously, the person that caused the accident, had they avoided the other's bumper, would have saved 5-10 seconds. It's a ridiculously small amount of time, but apparently worth the danger involved. What percentage of auto accidents are primarily caused by impatience? That would include speeding excessively, tailgating, changing lanes at the last possible second, and a host of other bad driving habits. I'd guess it's pretty high.

Law enforcement should do a better job of watching for this sort of behavior. Not to excuse drunk driving, but I do feel it's misplaced that we keep jacking up the punishment for driving after having 2 or 3 beers, but sitting 5 feet off someone's bumper at 70 miles per hour is rarely fined.

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