In the past I have written about how my husband has become an east coast driver due to his daily commute on the beltway for work. He tends to drive too fast for me and when I am with him he hears a lot of things about speed limits and how we aren’t in a hurry to get there. A few weekends ago, we decided to take a drive up to eagle watch and if we just happened to stop at Philly Pretzel Factory on the way back home no one would be complaining. It was raining lightly, more of a drizzle and annoying than anything. We saw a few eagles and then drove up to see if I could get pictures of a covered bridge that was being used for engagement photos the last time we were up that way. This time a group of boy scouts were fishing off the bridge, so we decided to pick up the pretzels and head home.
I-95 was wet, but traffic wasn’t as bad as it could be on a Saturday and most people were actually driving a few miles below the speed limit. We were one exit away from ours and in the middle of three lanes of southbound traffic. My husband asked if I could get him one of the pretzel rivets. I reached for them from the back seat and handed him one, keeping the box on my lap in case he wanted another. All of a sudden a red pickup truck in the left lane goes zooming by, not noticing that the traffic in front of him was slower. He braked, fish tailed and then over corrected which caused his truck to start spinning, hitting other cars in front and on the side.
My husband saw what was happening and slowed down. Luckily the people on the side of us and behind us did the same. I envisioned us getting hit on all sides. Car parts were flying off and the tailgate from the truck flew off landing on the left shoulder. It was like a scene out of a movie. The car in front of us decided to move to the right lane instead of staying stopped and the truck slammed into them before coming to a stop on the right shoulder as if he parked the truck there. All told the truck hit 6 vehicles. We would later learn that there were no reports of injuries.
I looked over at my husband and he smiled, probably to counter the look of shock on my face. “I see at least three of these types of accidents each week on my way home from work.” He was carefully navigating us through the car parts littering the highway to get out of the way of the accident scene.
“Are you kidding me?” I asked
He shook his head. “Nope. Why do you think I want to talk to you when I’m driving home?”
“I have no idea,” I answered while thinking that I shouldn’t be critical of his driving anymore.
“It’s because if I get into an accident, you’ll know and be able to call for help. Nice save on the pretzels by the way. I’ll take another one now.”
Looking down, I realized that through the whole accident, I had held on to the pretzels like I was holding a football. “They’re good pretzels.” And they are.
I have always been an obey the rules kind of girl. And when it comes to driving, I pay attention to the speed limit. If it is 65 mph, I go 65 mph. I don’t go 75 or 80 mph. I stay in the right or middle lane and let those that want to speed go around me. Living in Kansas, the roads were not as congested as they are on the east coast and the drivers were better behaved. Moving here four years ago, I pretty much left the driving to my husband. I occasionally remind him that the speed limit is 30 not 35 and he smiles and tells me he is going 30 mph. He knows how I feel about speeding and always does the best he can to stay at the speed limit when I’m in the car. Do I think he does when I’m not around? No. But it is different when I am with him.
Or it was different. Once he began commuting farther for his job, he has adopted the east coast way of driving, which is scary. If you have any doubts about east coast driving being considered one of the worst in the country, you can read more here. Now, when I drive with him, I always make sure my seat belt is secured, there are no projectiles that may go flying if we have to suddenly stop and I find myself closing my eyes so I don’t see the speedometer. It seems that the only way to drive on the Beltway is defensively. Fast. And pray that someone is looking out for you as you try to get from Point A to Point B. 65 mph is 80 mph. Too fast for me, but apparently too slow for those hurtling down the highway around us. If you have five feet between you and the car in front of you, someone will take the opportunity to pull their 10 foot vehicle between you. Conversation is virtually impossible as words such as a&%hole and stupid f*#k are uttered quite frequently to describe the latest near miss as we attempt to navigate our way around town. I have learned what white knuckled truly means and have learned not to eat anything heavy for fear of getting sick if we will be in the car for longer than a few minutes.
But last weekend, when another car pulled out from a parking lot and apparently didn’t see the 4 cars in the lanes next to them and proceeded to aimlessly drive towards us, we were saved a serious accident thanks to the quick defensive driving of my newly crowned King of East Coast Driving husband that saved us and the people behind us from getting hurt. And let me tell you, if they had damaged my new car, they would have seen a 5’ 2” Italian, Scottish, English, French (and the numerous other ancestries in my background) woman bring a case of whoop a$$ down on them that they would never forget. And I have a picture of your license plate. Just saying. 🙂