Important rule in driver’s training – Check your blind-spot. Very important rule for driving in California – Check your blind-spot TWICE.
I learned this last Thursday, as I drove up to my daughter’s place for Mother’s Day weekend.
I had gotten on the freeway and wanted to get over into one of the center lanes because I wouldn’t exit for some time, and I didn’t want to deal with merging idiots.
I, of course, looked in the mirrors and turned my head to check the blind spot, before moving over. I got 1/3 into the lane and the blast of an air-horn came from behind me as a white semi roared next to me on the left. The blue semi in the lane I had just exited, was along-side of me on the right. I straddled that white dashed line for at least 1/2 mile, willing my Honda Civic to be skinny by sucking in my stomach and chanting “Oh Sh!t, S!!t, Sh!t, Sh!t” through gritted teeth.
The blue semi took pity on me and moved over, giving me his lane. It took the rest of my trip (two and a half hours), to unfreak*. Was what happened my fault? Was I the merging idiot?
Checking your blind spot tells you where folks are. Unfortunately, not how fast they are going. Which is very important information to have, especially when very large vehicles are going 30 mph beyond the speed limit. Semi’s and tractor trailers have a speed limit of 55 mph. And yet, they travel at the speed of 70-80 mph. Even more amazing, is that you never see a big truck pulled over by the highway patrol. I don’t know if all states ignore speed limits, but California definitely takes ignorance to a new level.
So now I’m checking my mirrors and blind-spot twice. A habit I highly recommend you start practicing – before you become the filling for a Semi sandwich.
* Word taken from the “Dictionary of Words That Should Be”