Friday, August 10, 2007

Six Time Loser

I'm a good driver. I've had one ticket in my life, in 1978 for 62 in a 55 zone (speed trap), and one minor accident in 1965. I drive the ambulance a lot, sometimes for 10 fast miles through dense traffic with lights and sirens, and my partners are comfortable. But when it comes to reverse gear in my minivan, I'm a six time loser. I've hit six different cars while backing up in driveways, the last time being last night.

Minivans have great forward visibility, but visibility to the rear stinks. The tinted glass windows and large rear quarter panels, together with the height of the metal rear door, make backing up an adventure. If something is there, it's easy not to see it, especially at night. Perhaps all minivans should come standard with back-up alarm devices that signal when you are close to something.

I've twice hit my daughter-in-law's van in my own driveway, hit my best friend's car in my driveway, backed into a curved wall at a cellphone store, hit another ambulance corps member's car in the ambulance parking lot, at last night I backed into my best friend's wife's car in another friend's driveway. In total, I've spent about $4,000 repairing these cars. You'd think I'd learn.

Did you know that 95% of all ambulance accidents happen in reverse gear? That's because the ambulance boxes are so wide and long that rear visibility is almost non-existent. We have cameras in our ambulances now, and we're finally able to see what's behind us.

In my case, perhaps I need to set a new rule for myself - never park anywhere that will require me to back up!

Generally speaking, I'm far from being a klutz. I seldom wound myself doing repairs, I'm pretty coordinated, and I tend to think ahead. Apparently, though, I have one major gap in my mental processes - reverse gear. Could any of my readers have patterns of repetitive stupid behavior like this? I'm feeling pretty silly today.


Ron Davison said...

I hear you. Minivans are not fun to drive - and I've been driving one for years now. I've got a few more years of college tuition to pay for (for the next two years, the adults formerly known as children overlap), and then a smaller car!

Anonymous said...

I had a minivan for a while. For me it wasn't backing up that was a problem, it was driving forward onto the lifts at the garage to get my oil changed. Eventually I started just getting out and giving the keys to the attendent.