I love hearing, “Is that why I did it?” In the past eight years, I’ve heard it at least 500 times. It’s the sound of an exposed blind spot.
Shortly before moving from Maryland to Texas, I experienced a frightening twenty seconds on the highway. On a clear Sunday morning, I headed to church. I maintained my usual five miles above the 55 miles per hour speed limit. My favorite contemporary Christian radio station blared as I breezed around the Washington Capital Beltway.
I moved to pass an 18-wheeler directly to my right. Everything looked safe, and he appeared to be preparing to take the next exit. The two empty lanes to my left allowed ample space for motorcycles and sports cars to speed past.
About halfway to passing the truck on my right, another 18-wheeler appeared on my left. It had moved from the far left into the lane directly to my left. In high school, I learned the dangers of driving beside a truck. I typically avoid it. Now sandwiched between two 18-wheelers, I surveyed my options.
Speed up to pass or slow down to be passed? Suddenly, a car moved from in front of the truck on my left into my lane.
With a truck to my left, truck to my right, and a car in front, I hit the brakes. However, the truck to my left continued moving into my lane. If he kept going, he would have crushed into me and forced me into the other truck.
The driver didn’t seem to hear my horn or see me and kept moving closer.
I did the only thing I could, pray, and hit the brakes.
The truck continued over, passing less than a foot in front of my car bumper. Thankfully, the truck to my right merged into the turning lane just in time to allow the speeding truck to cross over and exit.
This driver was reckless, crossing over three lanes of traffic going over sixty miles an hour in a distance of less than a mile. Likely, the position of his mirrors and the location of my car prevented him from seeing me. I was in his blind spot. I assume he had a destination and a deadline, and, by golly, he was going to get there.
As I shared my harrowing truck story with friends, many of them also had stories to share. I think about my blind spots. How often have I swerved into the lane of the person next to me, never realizing they were there, as I raced off to meet a destination by a deadline?
So much to do, so little time!
How many people have I squished in a lifetime?
The best part of being a therapist is helping people uncover their blind spots. I show them ways to adjust their mirrors or how to lean forward to reveal missing information. And as any therapist will tell you, we know this stuff works because we use it on ourselves.
Had he hit me, the truck driver would have been responsible for any damage to my car or my body. He is responsible for any damage he causes even when it’s due to his blind spots. The driver wasn’t necessarily a terrible person for almost flattening my cute little car with me in it. He simply couldn’t see me.
Pam C. Dudley, MSW, LCSW is a writer, stage director, social worker, and CBT certified therapist pursuing the creative life in Corsicana, Texas. She is most passionate about sharing the love of Christ, helping people heal from hurts, and writing musicals! She is the owner of My Write Mind, PLLC Counseling Center now offering virtual therapy sessions. Contact PamCDudley@gmail.com to schedule an appointment.