Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Friday, January 13th, 2012
I have a confession to make. A couple of years ago, I wrote in one of these notes that I was going to make my effort towards safety be slowing down on my driving.
So far, so good. No tickets. But, after a good, long road without attracting “blue lights,” I have been pulled over twice since Thanksgiving. Gratefully, neither stop resulted in a ticket.
In the safety world, those are called “near misses.” A near miss is when something happens that could have been bad. But, it turns out you escape.
In safety, we try to make near misses work for us. We like to investigate them just like the accidents we experience in reality. The benefit is that we can learn from the experience without having to pay the cost of human suffering as well as experience the financial cost of treatment, rehabilitation and wage loss.
In my case, I was left to reason through what caused my near misses:
I’ve let down my guard. I’ve gotten used to driving slower and it’s made me cocky. I’ve got to freshen my commitment.
I was in unfamiliar places both times. I missed the change of speed limits in these new areas and got caught. I think that’s why I caught a break on the tickets. The cops could see how that happens.
I didn’t have the cruise control engaged. The cruise control is my greatest tool on this front. If I use it, it protects me against the inadvertent heavy foot.
Those factors contribute to many accidents. Overconfidence. Lack of concentration in unfamiliar settings. Failure to use proven safety strategies, methods or equipment.
I’m renewing my commitment before I become a statistic. I hope you will too.