This morning, I took a cab to work, as I'm apt to do when the weather gets crummy. Not five blocks from my office, the driver swerved to avoid another car that was cutting across three lanes of traffic to make a left turn. Unfortunately, this happened while I was crawling over "the hump" in the back seat so I could exit on the other side of the car. The two cars narrowly avoided a collision, and I ended up twisting my ankle and jamming my toe. The whole thing could have easily been avoided if my driver had taken it easy while driving in the slushy weather and hadn't been barreling down 7th Avenue at 50 MPH.
Last week, another driver made a similar error just a couple blocks from my apartment. Flying down East End Avenue trying to beat the lights, my driver jammed on the brakes just in time to avoid a car that had pulled out of a driveway without looking. At the time, I was looking at my watch, and I was thrown against the partition. The only thing that kept my face from smashing against the partition was my own hand.
On New Year's Eve, an overzealous cab driver rear-ended my beautiful Corvette just a few blocks from the 59th Street Bridge. The bastard didn't feel like exchanging insurance information, so the cops had to be called and I barely made it to my New Year's Eve party before midnight.
I can't help but think that most of this careless driving could be prevented if there was some way of making cab drivers understand the sheer magnitude of the forces involved in auto accidents. They wouldn't take so many chances if they knew that they weren't indestructible behind the wheels of those massive Crown Victorias.
I have been a cautious driver since I had a massive, car-totaling accident during my senior year of high school. (Even my girlfiend flips me crap for driving too slow.) Before the accident, I had been driving like a maniac all over the place, thinking myself 10 feet tall and bulletproof. After the accident, I had a much better feel for the magnitude of the forces involved in a car wreck. Never wanting to experience that again, I've been a very defensive driver since.
I wish there were a way for cab drivers to experience those forces first hand without the risk of personal injury. Just once. These guys would never forget the experience and they'd think twice about pulling out into traffic without looking, cutting off their fellow motorists and just generally engaging in the maniacal driving behavior that is typical of city cab drivers.
Through no fault of my own, I'm limping on my twisted ankle and I've got an otherwise-immaculate Corvette sitting in a garage with a big dent in the rear bumper. Half of me thinks Mayor Bloomberg should pull a random 10 percent of NYC cab drivers and put them into a crash simulator for "re-education" purposes. The other half of me thinks we should close off half the streets in New York to car and truck traffic and make electric scooters the preferred mode of transportation in the city.