Tuen's Blog

Infrequent diary of a procrastinator

Close Encounter of the Deadly kind

Written By: Tuen - Aug• 31•07

My eldest son knocked down his first pedestrian today!  Of course, I hope it’s his last pedestrian as well.  My son has a learner’s license, and he was on his way to the train station and driving though the Glen.  Thank goodness he wasn’t going fast and it was mainly the pedestrian’s fault.  This twenty-something lady just dashed across the road right in front of us and before my son could stop, the car bumped her and she fell to the road.  I rushed out of the car to check on her, and apologise, but she got up on her own quickly, said it was her fault, and moved on.  My heart was pounding so fast!!

This evening, I sat my son down and told him, what I’ve told him before; that he should always drive defensively, and in a situation where pedestrians are around, assume that some nut will want to throw himself/herself at his car.  I guess today’s experience will knock the message well and truly home, and in this respect, I’m glad the accident happened, as hopefully, this will make him a more careful driver in future. 

I also pointed out to him that his reaction time was too slow.  I’m convinced that if he had been more alert and a fraction of a second quicker, he would not have bumped into her (or her into us, I’m not sure which now) and avoided the whole accident.

This leads me to another one of my comparison observations.  In Singapore, pedestrians and motorists assume that cars have the right of way (which seems sensible to me considering which one will lose in a collision) and pedestrians will always give way to cars.  Over here, it seems that pedestrians assume they have the right of way and expect cars to give way to them; and cars generally do give way to them.  This difference in attitude caused me quite a bit of grief when I first started driving here.  I found it difficult to change over 25 years of driving habit and found myself on many occassions being glared at by pedestrians because I drove expecting them to give way to me, and on a few occassions even coming close to knocking them down because they assumed I would stop for them.  The lady in today’s accident must have also expected my son to stop and give way to her; a most dangerous expectation…

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