Monday 31 March 2014

Drunk driver

I suspect most people know someone who has been affected by a drunk driver.  I also suspect that everyone who has more than 18 brain cells knows that every other driver on the road has the capacity to be one of those dangerous idiots.  Every time I get into my car, I do it with the firm belief that I'm the only good driver out there, and every single other car around me is being driven by a besotted moron on his way back from a night of liquor-soaked debauchery.  You can call it pessimism, you can call it defensive driving, or you can call it paranoid and delusional.  Whatever gets me and my family safely from point A to point B is what matters.

But what happens when you encounter a drunk driver when you're not behind the wheel?  Sound impossible?  This story I got from Mariel (not her real name) proves otherwise:

Hello, Doc. I've been reading your blog for a while now and I thought I could share my story. I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible. I'm not sure I will succeed.

My parents and I were leaving my grandparent's house. The house is downhill, just after a turn. My mom and I were waiting by the porch and my dad and my grandpa were talking in front of the garage. That's when a car turned the corner and, instead of slowing down, it went faster, lost control, and hit my dad and grandpa.

My dad hit the car's windshield and managed to fall on his feet, but due a fractured sacrum and pubic tubercle, he couldn't stand up. My grandpa was thrown against the garage and hit his head.  The impact was so strong he was turned around so his head was facing the car. He was in cardiac arrest by the time the ambulance got there.

My father is mostly fine, but my grandpa died due the head trauma. The driver of the car that hit them was drunk. 

My grandma is alone now because a stupid 45-year old man thought he could drive after wasting himself in booze.

I don't really think I have a whole lot more to say about that.  Drunk drivers are menaces not only to other drivers, but to pedestrians and everyone around them as well.

Mariel, my sincerest condolences to you and your family.


  1. Why do people insist on driving drunk? Seriously, it's not that hard to call a cab.

    And I'm deeply sorry for that family's loss.

  2. What's so impossible about encountering a drunk driver when you're not in a car? The oldest kid next door when I was growing up was killed by a hit-and-run, presumed drunk driver.

  3. Our first house was on the inside of a gentle bend at the bottom of a small hill. We wondered for a while after we moved in why the house opposite had a length of Armco ( in the front garden. The reason became pretty clear after the third or fourth car of the year bounced off it - they had a crash barrier in the garden to keep the traffic out of their front room!

    There are way too many morons in this world and sadly a whole load of them are in charge of of a tonne of glass and steel with a top speed somewhere north of 100mph. It's about the only really deadly weapon I can think of that most countries allow the general population to use with the bare minimum of training and regulation. Yes, you can buy a chain-saw but the damage you can do to a bus queue with that pales into insignificance compared with the damage a drunk driver can do.

    I'm really very sorry to hear of your loss Mariel. I can only hope that your dad completes his recovery fully and quickly.


    1. Crash barrier? How about Joe's Truck Stop:

      Now that's a crash barrier!

  4. That is a truly harrowing story. This point bears repeating: roads are a public place, and whoever chooses to be in it, either by foot or on a wheel (more so if you're on the wheel) should not only be alert, but look out for those who are passing by. It can save time and lives if we simply do so, and avoid possible accidents that could happen on the road.

    Ken Phillips Law

  5. Drunk drivers often forget that they're not only a danger to other people, but to themselves as well. Even if they avoid hitting someone by accident, it is them that will suffer in the end. Drunk driving is a menace, and only a sustained campaign to dissaude already drunk people from driving would prevent more victims.

    Kim Hunter


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