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A Writer's Den: Not a Daredevil Anymore … How Being a Parent Changed My View on Driving

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not a Daredevil Anymore … How Being a Parent Changed My View on Driving

The Daredevil
Do you remember jumping in your car, putting your pedal to the metal? I swore I could put Nascar drivers to shame. That was me before I had children. If I had to be somewhere 45 minutes away, I would challenge myself to be there in 15 minutes since I wasn’t going to leave my house until the very last minute. If you were driving to slow, I wasn’t going to continue driving behind you. I was the girl speeding around you thinking “get off the road slow poke.” And if you ever cut me off, I’m sure you felt my wrath as my tongue spouted off things I’d rather not repeat here. Needless to say, I used to be a modern day daredevil when it came to driving.

The Daredevil’s Wakeup Call
Then, I became a mom. It would be so easy to say I’ve changed, but I think I should share my latest driving scare with you so you can see what I mean when I say I’ve really changed. Yesterday, as I was driving home with my six month old, a 20-something year old man was driving next to me. I was driving my SUV in the far right lane next to the guard rails and he was driving a mid-sized sedan in the left lane. As always when I’m driving, I was not only watching the road in front of me, but I was also watching those around me. I’ve learned it is my job to drive for myself and everyone else if I want to make it home safely. Suddenly, the young man’s car began driving into my lane. We were on a bridge and the only place to retreat to happen to be the guard rail next to me. I physically laid on my horn hoping to get his attention. There was no way I was hitting the guard rail knowing that my 6 month old was sleeping peacefully on the side where the impact would occur. Nor did I want to risk our lives hoping the guard rail would carry the weight of my SUV, keeping us from driving over the bridge. On top of everything, while I was blowing my horn, he was still coming over on me.

Finally, he lifted his head up and we made eye contact. I didn’t say one word. But the horror on my face with tears streaming down my eyes spoke for me. I read his lips as he apologized for almost coming over on me. I was so shaken up that when I finally reached my exit, I sat at the red light and laid my head on my stirring wheel.

Not a Daredevil Anymore
It’s funny how things come full circle because I couldn’t help thinking maybe this guy was payback for my poor driving habits in the past. One thing’s for sure, I’m not a daredevil anymore.

How has becoming a parent changed your views on driving? 

credit: Dancer01carterdayne © istockphoto.com/Dancer01

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