I confess I’m not the best of drivers and I’ve had my share of accidents, and have also taken some blame when I wasn’t even behind the wheel. (See Fender Bender, and The Chain Letter and the Fender Bender)
Back in the late 60s I was working in a public library and my schedule included a few late nights each month. I had a 30 minute highway commute and normally I didn’t mind the drive, but one dark night as I pulled out of the library parking lot to head home it started to rain heavily.
Now one big perk of being a librarian is that you get first dibs on the new books when they arrive, and that day I had gotten hold of Ira Levin’s new novel Rosemary’s Baby. Although not a horror fan, I was intrigued by the hype and anxious to read it. In fact as I got into my car I had the book in my hand and I put it down on the passenger seat.
By the time I got to the highway the rain was coming down in buckets, and I soon spotted what was obviously a multi-vehicle collision up ahead with cars and police and an ambulance spanning two or three of the opposing lanes. As drivers rubber-necked to see the accident, the traffic on my side of the highway slowed to a crawl, and it seemed a good time for me to sneak a look at a few pages of Rosemary’s Baby.
Then, you guessed it – the roadway was wet and my car was still in gear, and while my eyes were on the book I rear-ended the car ahead of me.
So there we were – cop cars diverting traffic around us as we exchanged insurance information in the pouring rain, and me thanking my lucky stars no one was hurt, especially the three little kids in the back seat of the other car.
Despite a badly damaged front end, my car was drivable and I made it home, both me and the car in one piece, although the front bumper was hanging on for dear life.
And so that rainy night on the highway I learned an important and very costly lesson. Now I read only at red lights, and I try to remember to put the car in park.
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!