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Surviving near-death experiences

By Chuck Hunt - Editor | Dec 6, 2020

I almost bought the farm the other day.

No, I don’t mean I went out and looked at a cute farmstead acreage which I could purchase and raise a few chickens, goats and a cow or two on.

No, I mean ‘bought the farm’ as that euphemism for getting killed and/or dying.

In fact, I almost bought the farm five times in one day.

I know, you are probably thinking I had another heart issue, but that is not it. I am referring to people coming after me with their vehicles with the intent to maim and harm.

The first one was at one of the roundabouts in Blue Earth. A driver of a large truck was determined to race through the roundabout as fast as he could. Perhaps he figured that was the best way to do it – get through fast. And since he was driving something larger than anything else on the road, people would have to stop and let him go.

He was right. I stopped. It was not the first time I have had to do this.

Someone told me they had the opposite experience at the roundabout. A driver stopped at the entrance to the roundabout and waited about five minutes to enter it until there was no traffic to be seen approaching the roundabout from any direction. Then they creeped through it. It was assumed it was an elderly person, but that is age discrimination, I think, since I am now one of those senior citizens.

I have related roundabout stories in this space in the past. And, while getting through a roundabout is now second nature to many of us, there still seems to be those out there who just don’t get it.

Some are like the speeding truck driver who don’t slow down when they enter. Others are the too cautious old guy who waits and waits. Then there are the ones who stop inside the roundabout to let others come in, trying to practice “Minnesota Nice,” I assume.

And, of course, there is the totally confused person who goes the wrong way.

Please folks, learn how to navigate through the roundabout, because they are everywhere these days. Have someone teach you how and help you practice it. Or go to the MnDOT website and check out their tutorial on driving in a roundabout. A Register reader sent me a note a while ago also lamenting the lack of roundabout skills of some folks, and that they need to use the tutorial.

I am hoping they didn’t mean me.

My other near death experiences had to do with someone driving straight at me in the middle of the street, because, I think, there were parked cars on either side of the street. I am not sure what would have happened if I had not pulled over to the side of the road because I don’t think they were going to pull over and, I didn’t want to play “chicken” with them – even though that was it felt like was happening.

Then there was the close call of someone cruising through a stop sign, oblivious to me entering the intersection from the side street. And, there was the speeder going down Main Street, who didn’t seem to care if people were backing out of a parking space – or want to stop and be “Minnesota Nice” and let me back out. The last incident was someone making a left turn onto the street where I was stopped at a stop sign (a full stop I might add). He did not make a full 90 degree turn and was cutting into my lane. I swear his vehicle was so close to mine that they exchanged paint molecules.

You get the idea. And yes, none of these was really bad enough to have caused my death, I was exaggerating just a little bit about that.

However, the point is once again that we have a lot of scary drivers on the streets and highways. People who are in too much of a hurry and often practice sloppy driving habits ­- don’t come to a full stop, or don’t look both ways, or are distracted by a cell phone.

So once again, I make a plea to please practice safe driving habits. Buckle up, pay attention, slow down, stop at stop signs – you know the routine. I will admit right now that I sometimes get a little sloppy in my own driving habits, but it takes a few near death experiences like I had the other day to snap me back into paying close attention to what those other drivers are doing out there on the road.

I drive like I think they are all out to get me.

Because maybe they are…