My Invisible Car

My car, visible from space

Several months ago, I thought that I had written the last of a small series of driving posts. Several of you encouraged me, but I don’t want to simply add more of the same type of intersection encounters. So, when something odd happens, I take some notes and wait until I have three things that are similar. For this particular subject, I was really hoping never to make it to three. As before, I’ve added some illustrated Google Earth maps to help you understand.

On Our Way Home

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were driving on a two-lane road that winds through north-central Connecticut. As we were approaching a curve, we noticed a car coming toward us and a car waiting on a side-street. The car coming toward us passed the intersection. The woman driving the car at the intersection looked our way as we approached the intersection. Then she pulled out!

She was heading straight toward us. I swerved to the right, up into the snow at the side of the road and stopped. The woman stopped. She made that “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you expression.” It seemed like an honest mistake, but how she didn’t see us remains a mystery.

A few minutes later, while on I-91, a truck started to merge into our lane, in the space we were in! I’m going to assume we were just in his blind-spot, but after the lady almost hitting us, we began wondering if our car was invisible.

4-Minus-1-Way Stop

The back way that I take home when traffic is ugly, is a zig-zaggy hypotenuse to a 2-highway right triangle. Most of the intersections are governed by traffic lights, but there’s one 4-way stop at the junction of two very busy roads. There are almost always multiple cars on all sides.

One day, as I waited my turn, there was traffic lined up on two of the three sides. When I got to my sign, the coast was clear. I pulled up and stopped before the guy on my right and the guy on his right. There was no one at my left. A woman was approaching on that side, but she was a couple of car lengths back from the sign.

I pulled out and started my left turn.

She kept coming. She didn’t stop. She didn’t slow down. She blew through the intersection, swerving enough to miss me, as I was turning hard to the left to avoid her.

Not Crowded

You can probably understand why I was in no hurry for invisible-car-encounter number three. However, this past Friday, the hardest one to understand occurred.

I was at our local soft-serve ice cream place. It was cold and the parking lot was almost empty. I drove past two parked cars at one end, and parked in the next to last spot at the other end. As I was leaving with my ice cream, a woman pulled her extra-large SUV into the last spot, but she didn’t pull all the way in and she pulled in at an angle. The back of her Tahoe was blocking my car. As I passed her on the steps, I said:

I think you’re going to have to move your car.”

Why?

The back of your car is blocking my car.”

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.”

Coming – Hopefully Not soon

Unfortunately, I also have two examples of a completely different kind of batsh*t crazy driver. Hopefully, it will take a long time to collect example number three, but you never can tell.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
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85 Responses to My Invisible Car

  1. It’s frightening how when those incidents start to happen they just keep coming… Sorry Dan.
    One of my favorite quotes is “If most people said what they were thinking, they’d be speechless…”
    Earl Nightingale. That apparently applies to what they see as well. Be safe. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. When you and I were in Cincinnati, Dan (the first time I met you), if you remember, I stayed on an extra day and hired a car. I drove over the bridge to Covington, intending to go to a bookshop over there. I came up to a junction, turned right and, suddenly, I was facing a big “semi-trailer” (is that what you call it?). He looked at me from about 1/4 of a mile with horror on his face as I had done a UK turn right and had moved over to the other side of the road (we drive on the left remember!). He must have thought I was stark, staring mad, but how could I explain – I am British, this is what we do!”.
    Needless to say, with plenty of time, I got back over and passed him with his horn blaring at me!
    BTW, count the ! in that comment -grin.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      You can be forgiven your mistake, David, but you might have collected that forgiveness in Heaven if the semi had been going faster. I’m pretty sure that’s why our company won’t let us rent cars in other countries. I think most of my readers will give you extra-credit for risking your life to get to a bookstore :)

      Like

  3. GP Cox says:

    haha If your looking for number 3, Dan, just come on down to South Florida!! You’ll be able to collect enough batsh*t crazy episodes to fill a book in your one day visit!! I think the Chamber of Commerce advertises for them to move down here.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bikerchick57 says:

    You need a neon orange car, Dan. With blinking lights. I don’t understand the last incident. The only reasoning that I can come up with is that the woman driving the extra-large SUV can barely see over the dashboard, so apparently is unable to see the cars closest to her. Like yours. Scary.

    I hope you don’t have any close encounters for a long time. The other drivers need to pay attention to their surroundings. “I didn’t see you,” might be true, but I think it a better excuse than, “Well, you see, I was texting and checking Facebook and…”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Mike Powell says:

    I’m with bikerchick57–an awful lot of the crazy things I observe on my commute are caused by drivers distracted by their phones as they drift in and out of lanes, fail to use turn signals, and neglect to notice things like stop signs and occasionally even red lights. It’s tough in the D.C. area because drivers are so aggressive. For example, if you stop when a light is just beginning to turn yellow, there is a decent chance that you will be rear-ended. I used to drive a bright yellow car, which unfortunately was destroyed in a collision when a woman pulled right in front of me from a diagonal stop sign when I was going about 40 miles an hour and had a green light. Yes, she claimed she didn’t see me, despite the fact that it was a clear sunny morning and my Solar Yellow Matrix was hard to miss.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Distracted driving in DC seems like a recipe for disasters like that, Mike. Sorry about your car. But seriously, what more could you do? When I go to DC on business, I don’t even like crossing the streets. It’s like Boston, in that I think it’s safer to cross in the middle of the block than it is at the cross walk.

      Like

      • Mike Powell says:

        Thanks, Dan. I try to avoid driving in DC itself if at all possible. Ir’s hazardous for pedestrians who have to avoid cars as well as crazy cyclists. (and don’t get me started about distracted pedestrians crossing the streets looking down at their phones and/or zoning out to music in their headphones). As for my car, all I could do at that moment was turn my wheel so that I hit the car with a glancing blow instead of the traditional T-bone, but it was enough to set off both of my front airbags. (The driver was trying to cross over the two travel lanes to get into a turn lane.)

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dan Antion says:

          Crossing multiple lanes? I see that more and more often and I just have to wonder what they were doing that led them to that point. Not to mention why not just turn around safely at the next light. Pedestrians are no better, whether crossing the street, or just running into other pedestrians. Focus people!

          Like

  6. I’m not sure how we avoid some of these crazy encounters. Yes, your car must have an invisible cloak around it. :-) Being retired we choose to avoid some busy ‘going home’ traffic times, and living in a ‘destination area’ we always avoid holiday weekend traffic. But, we still encounter all those other distracted drivers. There was one state when we drove south that had pull over areas for texting, and they had huge signs along the highway announcing how many miles/minutes until you could pull over to use your phone. As we kept passing them, I just had to chuckle and think about the days when you left home with your phone on the wall or the counter. If it ran and you didn’t answer, they called back. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      ah, the good old days to be sure, Judy. When you went on vacation and there wasn’t any way for your job to follow and someone was doing the really important stuff for you. I wonder if they will ever figure out how much we’ve lost by all these “conveniences” ? This from the guy who hands out technology for a living :-)

      The rest areas in Iowa have free WiFi. I usually get a text from my brother when he’s on his way to pick me up at the airport, from one of those. It seems safer. Meanwhile, in CT, you can’t even use the “facilities” after 3:30 pm.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joanne Sisco says:

    While I’m willing to acknowledge we all have the occasional brain farts, I think I’ve already told you my theory on why we seem to have so many stupid drivers on the road. I call it Centre of the Universe Syndrome. Actually it accounts for a lot of the self-absorbed behaviour we witness now – not just on the roads. Yes – I’m talking about shopping at Costco.

    They just assume that everyone else will make way for them and when called out on it, they will either tell you to f**k off or feign ignorance.
    I live in a neighbourhood where I’ve just come to accept that people WILL pull out of a driveway or side street in front of me. Most of the time, I’m right :/

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      My old boss called them “self-appointed important people” and I rarely go a day with out encountering one or two. I guess I’m lucky the woman at the ice cream place didn’t hit my car. The crazy thing was, there wasn’t even anyone in line when she pulled in. Why the rush?

      I’ve given up on saying something to them, as you’re right, it either bounces off or they retaliate like I’m the idiot. When I do do something stupid, I try to acknowledge and communicate that it wasn’t on purpose.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Steve Weissman says:

    In the immortal words of comedian Bill Engvall: “Here’s your sign.”

    I swear I’m going to keep a pile of them on the seat next to me for just those situations!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my! Those had to be frustrating encounters. Perhaps they were thinking about other things and driving on automatic pilot. I was in the car with my mom recently. She is 80 years old and it is frightening to drive with her, yet she insists on driving. She had been in a car accident and we were taking her car to the body shop to get an estimate done. When we were at her house I discovered that her airbag had deployed and then she said her seat belt wasn’t working. She has one eye from an accident she had years ago so she drives close to cars on a side street and close to the line on busier streets. As we were riding and I was wishing I was driving she was approaching a stop sign and not applying the brakes. Had I not shouted “Stop, stop, stop!”, she would have blown the stop sign. I was pretty irked at her and although there was no one at the four way stop signs it was unsettling. Her comment was “I wasn’t paying attention” and this is after she had the accident about a week ago. She was singing in the car and so I think she was more focused on singing than paying attention to her driving. Needless to say, I don’t think I will ever drive with her again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      That’s a scary story. Driving is one of those marks of independence that people find very hard to give up. My mom is 92. She’s been ill and hasn’t been driving, but she renewed her AAA membership and says she plans to drive again. I know I am extra vigilant when driving through, or past church parking lots.

      Like

  10. loisajay says:

    We look at the car tags of all those bat sh*t crazy drivers and say, “Yup. They’re from….(fill in the blank) Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia.” Be careful out there, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Paul says:

    Hmm. I see a common thread here, but in order to keep the peace, I’ll refrain from mentioning it. ;P Glad these were near-misses and not accidents, Dan. Lots of distracted drivers out there, faces in their cell phones — and they’re bad enough when they actually pay attention. Stay safe out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Paul. I do realize that I am present in each of these stories. Most of my encounters (in previous posts) occurred when I was stopped. In two of these cases, I was moving, but legally and with the right-of-way, which I no longer assume is actually mine. I’m glad “Defensive Driving” was a thing they felt like teaching in the 70s.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Almost Iowa says:

    There is the thing called “Iowa Roulette”. In late summer, the corn stands eight feet tall and obscures the uncontrolled intersection of gravel roads. To play the game, you accelerate to at least 90 mph and blow through as many intersections as you can before a grain truck tosses you out into the field. It is loads of fun for people of all ages!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I’ve been on the highway in Iowa when we were being passed by people on the gravel roads that run parallel. I didn’t realize they were getting up to speed for the intersection. I remember asking my brother once why so many cars in the parking lot at Lowes looked like they had just completed The Baja 1000. I guess being able to see out your side/back windows is overrated.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I can relate to feeling invisible. I’m glad you lived to tell (and illustrate!) the tale.
    I can also relate to the first woman who gave you the “I’m sorry I didn’t see you look.” Fortunately, it was in a parking lot with slower (theoretically) speeds. I did look both ways before I pulled out, but the review mirror blinded the lane opposite me that was used by the advancing car.
    What flavour ice cream did you get?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Chocolate, always chocolate. I wasn’t angry at that woman, I actually felt a little bad for her. I’ve pulled out to close before, but she would have hit us if I hadn’t swerved. The dingbat who ran the stop sign just kept moving as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

      Like

  14. Unfortunately, Dan, examples are all to easily collected and much too often (unless you don’t drive at all and don’t go outside much.) I have a van that I think must be invisible sometimes. The other day, I was in the left of two left turn lanes. When the light turned (for left turns only), I pulled out and into the left of the two lanes (as I’m supposed to do.) As I began turning, a woman made a right-hand turn from the approaching way, so she would be going the same way as I. I was already turning and instead of going into the right-hand lane as she should, she kept coming into the left lane where I was!! She didn’t even hesitate. I laid on my horn, but of course I braked. As my family sometimes said, “What unmitigated gall!” She did turn left, but not for at least 3/4 of a mile or more.

    janet

    Like

  15. marianallen says:

    Sounds like your problem isn’t an invisible car, it’s women drivers. Hate to say it, but if the anecdotes fit, we gotta wear ’em.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      Ha ha – better you (saying that ) than me. However, the two stories that I’ve collected for a future post, both involve male drivers, and both are way more dangerous than any of these. Both occurred while I was stopped at a red light, lest you think that I am the common element in these stories.

      I don’t know about the woman at the ice cream place, but the other two simply weren’t paying attention. The ice cream lady might be from another planet.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I always wondered when that type of thing happened if it was the color our our car??? Black Toyota Four Runner SUV?????? For a couple of months earlier this year, my wife and I had the feeling We were invisible…pattern of going into restaurants and being ignored while people arriving after us got served….pass it off to bad service except it truly happened at completely different restaurants during that couple of months….we must be visible again as it hasn’t happened since….go figure…maybe our cars and us phase in and out….or we sport signs we can’t see that say…ignore this car…it’s not real…or ignore these people, they’re not real….just sayin….:)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. So glad y’all are okay. I’ve had a few of those close calls. The feeling of wanting to get home as quickly as possible comes to mind, but my reaction is to slow down and take less populated streets home.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I had an invisible car. It was a BMW 850Csi. Hit head on by a guy who said, “I never saw you.” Hit from behind by a woman who said, “I didn’t realize you were there.” Hit from behind on the freeway while going 65 MPH by I guy who said, “where did you come from?” I feel your pain and yes I’m lucky to still be here. The car is another story.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sharukh Bamboat says:

    Things are beyond crazy if you drive and park in Mumbai, or even in my town. An old man almost drove his car in reverse right on to me as I was filling up gas in my scooty. He said he didn’t see me. I was in a bright yellow tee and my scooty was bright red color but he still didn’t see us. And he was like sorry son. And I told him hope you reach home safely because I believe you cannot see traffic signal colors.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. prior.. says:

    well Dan… lucky me to visit your blog after a pause and come to a driving post.
    love them.
    and sounds like you have um – some invisible angels protecting you from such careless drivers.
    and all I can say is that now you know what Wonder Woman goes through when she flies her plane – damn radar never helps her out. ha!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I am glad that you are OK! I know the feeling of driving what is apparently an invisible car. With all the distracted driving going on now (and it’s getting worse), I think more and more people will be saying – after causing an accident – “Sorry, I didn’t see you.”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. JT Twissel says:

    Those ultra long SUV are really dangerous sometimes. I had a black Jeep and I could have sworn it was also invisible.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. WOW! That’s nuts! Too many close calls for my liking.

    Keep your shields up they seem to be in perfect working order. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  24. joey says:

    WP ate my comment, Dan. I cannot even.
    Great, relatable post, she says with scorn at WP.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. reocochran says:

    Be careful and keep your wits about you, Dan.
    I have had cars appear out of fog which are gray or silver and no lights on! Once I actually was charged with hitting one. Probably since I had an older car, tan with rust, station wagon and they had a shiny brand new SUV. (?) I was worried when that lady coming for the left, kept on coming! Yikes! I like the Twilight Zone theory. The only problem is the people who make mistakes are getting an “easy excuse!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I keep my lights on any time there is fog or drizzle, and I had my lights on when the woman almost hit my wife and me. I don’t know what else I can do to call attention to the car. It’s sad that you were tagged with the accident :(

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        So glad you had lights on and I think black is easier to see than white or silver cars. . .
        It took a few years to have my insurance get another guy who turned my durable station wagon into an accordion in a “white out” he hit us from behind. We could still drive so the police via cell phone (early days) told us to exchange numbers and insurance and go on our ways. My glasses went from the front all the way to third seat in back!! My head went forward then flipped backwards, he was going what seemed to be 55 and I was admittedly “creeping along” at 35-40 mph. I was in the right lane on a four way highway and they ultimately made him pay. I had my lights on, too. It didn’t hurt my kids nor me, thank God. :)

        Liked by 1 person

  26. Glynis Jolly says:

    I noticed your vehicle is gray. Although I do not think it is an excuse for people to be so stupid, you might want to think about painting it schoolbus yellow. The maverick I had so long ago was green. You would not believe how many times I was almost creamed. In fact, I ended up with a broken nose in an accident with that car. I contribute part of that problem to the color of my car. After all, green means go, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan Antion says:

      I do wonder if the color contributes, Glynis. I’ve almost always driven a red car/truck. Although, in the first incident, my headlights were on. I think I might go back to red. If we follow the logic of your maverick, red would mean stop :)

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I don’t like those days when my car seems invisible. It’s only on some days too, Dan. Weird. I can tell it’s going to be an invisible car day early, and I make sure to drive with extra wariness. Or it could just be bat sh*t crazy drivers. :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  28. misifusa says:

    These are scary and tricky situations. I do hope you continue to be carried by your guardian angels so that you and your wife stay safe! It’s incredulous to me how many drivers drive unaware of their surroundings. Stay safe Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Ironically, I just went shopping with my human. We were coming out of a non-packed grocery store, with the Easter lamb, after having an anxiety inducing experience in an extremely packed smaller store, and I said, “Is that our car?” It was where I parked it, looked like our car, but there was a lot of damage to the front right side. He said, “Yes.”
    I asked about the damage and was told it was several weeks ago when our oldest asked about the damage. Apparently our vehicle was invisible in a parking lot.
    Another thought, I am often criticized for leaving too much space between my car and the car in front of us when at a traffic light. My human will point to the gap and say, “Look, an invisible car.” I still leave room because I have been rear-ended and don’t want to hit the car in front of me. Invisible cars only get damaged when they aren’t really invisible.

    Liked by 1 person

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