Monday, April 1, 2019

Spotless Record

Never before and hopefully, never again!

I've been driving a motor vehicle legally since the day I turned 15.  (Yes, that means I've been behind the wheel for over 45 years.)  Some of you noticed I said "legally" and sensed a red flag.  Truth is, I actually started driving on country roads when I was only 13.  I was tall and Mom saw no harm in it.  That's all I have to say about that.

In all those 45+ years of handling an automobile, I've managed to maintain a SPOTLESS driving record.  I've never been the driver in a single accident.  I've never been given a single speeding ticket.  (Although, I was "motioned" over once.  I had slowed to a crawl of 20 MPH going through a little mountain town.  The officer informed me the speed limit was 15 MPH!  Reckless driver that I was, she let me go with a warning.)

I've never been ticketed for running a red light or parking in the wrong spot.  I rarely have to use my horn because I'm a defensive driver; always watching out for the other guy.  My one son will claim I drive faster than I should and that is sometimes true.  But I'm always cautious.

Last Tuesday, however, my spotless record was ruined in a single moment.   There was this dump truck that ran into the side of my little red convertible and the outcome was NOT pleasant.  Wait for it . . .  I was charged with the accident.

My spotless driving record was obliterated and worse yet, had no bearing in the ruling against me.  Yes, I'm still more than just a little bit frustrated with all that happened.  Although, I think I'm safely past the potential for "Bitterness" stage.

Here's what happened -

I had gone to grab lunch for Kristin and myself as it was a spectacularly full day.  While coming out of the driveway of the chicken establishment, I caught the eye of the young man driving the dump truck.  I requested permission to move in front of him until the light should change.  He motioned for me to come out, which I did.

While waiting for the light to change, I contemplated giving my horn a little tap to request that the other truck in front of me move forward enough so I could squeeze in completely.  However, we've already established my reticence to use my horn as horns can be unpleasant.

We waited a rather long time for the light to change.  When it did, I was watching and started moving.  But it appears Bryan, the driver of the dump truck, was distracted by his phone and completely forgot I was in front of him.  The massive truck caught the front left side of my little car and began pushing me forward.

You better believe I laid on my horn then and GOOD!

The dump truck stopped almost immediately but it was too late for my sweet red Solara.   Some of you will already know, Solaras have been out of production for over 11 years.  It wasn't new by any means, but the car Bryan hit was one I very much enjoy driving.

It would now be my advice to you that in any match up between a sports car and a dump truck, you should put your money on the dump truck - Every Time!

Bryan jumped down from his truck asking if I was okay.  He talked rapidly.  Apologized profusely. Explained he had been on the phone with his wife.  They were working through a difficulty.  He just didn't see me.  Was I sure I was I okay?

I was okay and agreed with him that everyone's safety was the most important thing.  In my head, I could hear Frank warning our girls, "If you're ever in an accident, be quiet until the police arrive."  So, knowing I was innocent in this crash, I followed his directive and said little more.

"So, why did the officer give YOU the ticket?" you may be wondering.

Well, it seems Bryan's massive dump truck was equipped with a dash cam.  His camera showed me stopping in the driveway of the chicken establishment.  His camera showed no other traffic coming toward us.  His camera showed me cautiously moving in front of him.  His camera showed my little car being pushed sideways down the road.

Unfortunately, his camera DID NOT show him motioning earlier to the second driver (that would be me) that it was okay to move in front of him.

So, the officer said I was at fault and promptly wrote a ticket for $164.00 with my name and address at the top!  I assured the officer (as well as Frank who had arrived by then) that Bryan had clearly signaled for me to move in front of him.  Bryan did NOT mention to the officer that he had been on his phone.

The officer was courteous but explained (twice) that while I could take the matter, along with my previously spotless driving record to court, Bryan's dash camera would most likely cause the judge to rule against me.  Then I would be responsible for the ticket, my insurance deductible AND court fees.  Sigh.

So that is how I came to be in car line today with an unidentified rental car.  (The principal hesitated letting my grandchildren get in the car until she saw me waving madly.)

While reading back over the post I've written for you, I was struck by how many times I felt compelled to share about my spotless driving history as well as proclaim my innocence.  A phrase from Shakespeare's play Hamlet comes to mind, "The lady doth protest too much, methink."  

And perhaps it applies to my situation.

Perhaps I had allowed a bit of pride to wiggle its way into my heart over that spotless record.  Perhaps I thought my record could protect me.  Perhaps I thought, " would never happen to me!"

Before you ask, the answers are YES:

  • Yes,  I have already stopped to examine my heart and ask for forgiveness over this matter.  
  • Yes, each time I get frustrated about it, I pray for Bryan and his wife. (This is just something Frank and I try to do - I'm still Practicing.)   
  • Yes, some day this will be a hysterical story I use at a conference or in a sermon.  Probably many times. 
  • Yes, I'm rehearsing for myself there can only be one truly Spotless Record.  That's the record of our sins with the precious blood of Jesus applied.
With the Easter season now upon us, perhaps this is a good reminder for us all.  Is your record Spotless?  I certainly hope so.  Blessings!

So there you have it.  The story of my first and hopefully my ONLY car accident.  How about you?  Any other spotless driving records out there?  Formerly spotless?  Anyone else take on a dump truck and lose?  We'd love to read your story in the comment section below.


  1. Sheri,

    The thing that makes me saddest about your well-told story (apart from the trauma, the drama, the loss of your favorite car, the court fees, the insurance charges) is the fact that all that wonderful food you were looking forward to eating had to be pushed in aside in all the hullabaloo. And if it was Chick-fil-A food, a sad day indeed.
    Seriously, I am thankful you weren't injured and God's peace sustained you through a difficult day. Love you!

  2. You know us well, Dear Friend! LOL Yes, the main thing is gratitude for safety.

  3. Sheri, I too feel your pain. When I was 18 I received a speeding ticket that I didn't deserve. My parents were in the car with me and we went to court to "fight" the ticket. Long story short, the judge's reply, "I have to believe my officers or they won't do their jobs." Left me with a bad opinion of the judicial system. Karen

    1. Those things can still sting a long time after. Thanks for sharing your experience, Karen!