Tag Archives: driving

Decisions in Seconds

I am still amped-up. Less than 30 minutes ago I was almost in a serious accident.

This is a diagram of downtown Hastings, which has a number of one way streets. Second street is a one way street (west to east) downtown. I had to drop off some mail at the post office this morning. I was heading south on Colorado, which is one way also. There is a light at the intersection of Second and Colorado, but it only faces the traffic flow of the one way streets. I was half a block away from the intersection when the light turned green. My lane has a green arrow (Colorado turns into two-way traffic after the light) and I slow down a little to make the turn. The roads are still snow packed from the snow storm on Sunday. That’s when I notice the headlights of a beer truck coming the wrong way on Second street, right where I am supposed to turn.

I wish I could tell you everything slowed down in my mind and I handled the situation like a hero. It didn’t. I remember everything now. But at that moment everything seemed to move into hyper drive.

I could see the truck’s left turn signal blinking on the hood of the truck. I remember thinking in my head, “What is he doing?” because he doesn’t seem to be stopping. There is no traffic light for him because he is traveling the wrong way on the Second street.

Decisions. Choices. Sometimes we see the results of our decisions immediately. Sometimes the effects of our decisions manifest themselves later; maybe a minute, a day, a year, or sometimes never. Making a decision can be a heavy responsibility… in fact every decision we make actually creates the life we live. And most of the time our decisions affects other people’s’ lives. I don’t know when the driver of the truck decided to drive down the wrong way. I don’t know why he chose to do it. Maybe he didn’t want to navigate the extra turns it takes to get through all the one way streets downtown, so he decided to take a short cut. What I do know is that his decisions and my decisions (to drop of the mail and drive down a certain street) was about to meet at the intersection of Second and Colorado.

I decide not to slam on the brakes to try to stop. The intersection was snow packed and helped me in this case. I was able to drift into the right lane on Second street. Missing the truck who also decided not to stop and turned left onto Colorado to drive away. I came to a stop to watch his taillights disappear at the corner of a building.

Decisions. Choices. Some of them seem more important than others. But in reality, every one of them matters. Everyone of them makes an impact in our lives. Makes an impact on other people’s’ lives. This morning I am glad that the driver’s choices and mine did not collide, literally.

 

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Driving in a Fog

At times we can be on the right road, but that doesn’t mean traveling through life is easy, sometimes we come across our own personal fog.

country road with fog

I stopped this morning to take the picture above. You can just see the fog covering the road. Sometimes the fog fades quickly as you drive, but other times you have to slow down because the fog is so thick and lasts for the whole commute.

Fog is a cloud made of tiny water droplets that is suspended in the atmosphere. In life our fog is made up fear, doubt, self-criticism and other negative emotions. And sometimes that fog just rolls in without any notice. That makes life hard, even when we are on the right road.

So, how do we get through our own fog?

First, understand that most of the time the fog dissipates. Emotions come and go. We can wake up in a bad mood, but by the end of the day we are having a better day. No particular reason why, just that time passed.

Other times, especially with doubt, fear, or being critical, the fog has to be driven through. You have to focus on your driving, in the case for life it can be your goals that you stay focused on. As a track coach I would talk with my athletes about the voice in their head telling them to stop, or slow down. That voice can be loud, but it can be defeated by focusing on their workout, understanding how the pain was building strength to achieve their goals.

Driving through fog is not easy, but it can be done. Give yourself time and focus on your life, your goals, and you will make it to your destination.

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Winter Driving

It is January, that means winter driving. That means snow ruts.

Winter Ruts

Last weekend was one of those times when we were running around town all day. Groceries, Speech Meet, kids visiting friends, it felt like I was in the car more than in my house. Even the main roads were still a mess and as I navigated the snow ruts I got to thinking.

When a storm hits, ruts actually help navigate your path. The ruts give a clear path to drive in. It is the safest path to follow during the storm and right after the storm. But then something happens to that safety.

As time goes on the winter ruts become dangerous in two ways. When the storm passes and the sun starts to shine again, ruts become filled with slush that then becomes ice as the days progress. Trying to stop for a light or stop sign becomes dangerous because the ruts are filled with ice. You have to move outside the rut to gain grip on the tires so that you can stop.

The other way that ruts become a hazard is when the ruts become so deep you scrape the undercarriage of your car. Sometimes the snow storms come one after another, building up the snow on the ground and roads. Again, the winter ruts help at the beginning, but soon the ruts are so deep you can’t get out of them.  You have to alter your route because you can’t turn on a secondary street because you can’t get out of the rut.

Last Saturday I thought about this as I ran all over town. And as so often happens I thought about how the ruts of life work the same way.

Ruts are helpful to show us the way, specially in our personal storms. But after time, ruts become dangerous. They can keep us doing the same thing for so long we can’t get out of the ruts without a drastic change in course. Or our life becomes filled with issues that won’t allow us to stop, unless we make a drastic change in course. Even more, the ruts of life are not so easy to see, but so safe to travel.

 

Navigating winter roads is tricky.

Navigating life is even more complicated.

 

I wish you safe travels.

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