Monday, August 15, 2005

Slowing Down

I rarely drive the speed limit. The orange finger of my speedometer usually rests a good 5 mph below the limit. In a fast-paced world, I refuse to rush.

We were driving down our gravel road, headed south and towards home. Meg was in the passenger seat with treats we had bought at the convenience store three miles away. We were nearly there and my mind was occupied with other thoughts besides the road. As I approached the intersection, a car went zooming by, racing east without so much as a glance....a pause. I slammed on my brakes, heart racing as I realized how close we had come to colliding; 3 more seconds and we would have been in the midst of disaster.

I sat there a moment, heart pounding and looked at my daughter. How could I have been so careless, so absent-minded? Here beside me was one of the most precious things in my life...and I could have lost her in an instant of thoughtlessness. Even though I had the right of way, I should have slowed down, should have looked. Because in traffic, even rural traffic, people don't always do what they're supposed to do.

Since that day, if I find myself speeding up, I slow things down. I remember that moment and let my vehicle find that comfortable place below the limit. There is nothing that is so important that it requires me to rush, to put myself and others in jeopardy.

Yesterday at the rainy intersection of two Kansas highways, a car hydro-planed and hit another, killing two people: a teacher from Oklahoma, and a husband and father of two babies. I was on that very highway, in that very place, just 30 minutes earlier. I don't know if that accident could have been prevented, but as I pray for those families and give thanks for our own safety, I'm reminded of the importance of paying heed on the roadway...and slowing things down.

So go ahead. Pass me if you wish. I'll bide my time driving below the limit. I'm taking the scenic route.......and I'll see you when I get there.


Macromoments said...

Taking the scenic route...I like that.

I heard a sermon once, in which the pastor said that going the speed limit is an act of worship. When I was a kid and someone came tearing around our car, my dad would shake his head and say, "There's someone in a hurry to meet a tree."

Keep taking your time. I'd miss the person behind this blog if you met a tree.

Anonymous said...

There has been studies on the speed a venhicles takes, and the comparisons to others, it saves very little time over short distances. In my line of work, the speed at which we fly faster then other aircraft, ten miles an hour is even a smaller percentage of the total speed. In driving and growing up in rural areas, we all sped, but we did so with the understanding and a good foot on the gas and off the gas when needed. You anticpated what could go wrong and you were ready for it. Driving in any conditions requires awareness. A wake up call applies to any thing we do, driving or other wise. What you felt in your chest was not just fear of the fractions of seconds life has to split, but also like the meories of love flash before your eyes and into your chest, beating away as hard as they can.

HeyJules said...

I used to be the one always in a hurry. I finally realized I was letting the other drivers "force" me to go their speed. I still go the limit, but if you are behind me at a yellow light, you best be setting your foot on that break pedal because one way or the other, we're BOTH going to be stopping.