Had I doubted my slightly wonky brain and body’s ability to execute an emergency stop when needed, I would have given up my driving licence without hesitation. By the very nature of an emergency stop, they were recently, unexpectedly put to the test. I found myself strangely proud of my slightly wonky brain’s performance. I was equally proud of my slightly slow and shaky limbs’ impressive response when a speedy reaction was demanded from them.
It is a 0.8 mile drive to the supermarket. I’ve driven the road a thousand times. I’ve never felt inclined to write about it before. However, this morning was a little more eventful than usual. I found myself the middle of three cars, waiting in line to turn right at traffic lights. As the lights turned green, the car in front pulled away. I had seen a man crossing the road we were turning into. As the lights changed, I noticed him stopping in the middle of the road and bending down, oblivious it seemed, to the danger he put himself in. Thankfully the driver of the car ahead had seen this too and braked suddenly. My slightly wonky brain did me proud, not only had it read the road ahead, it reacted with lightening speed and my usually slow and shaky foot, responded with equally impressive speed and dexterity and slammed on my brake, executing a perfect emergency stop. Possibly helped by the caution with which I have previously described when pulling away at junctions, I did what I needed to do and avoided hitting the car in front. All credit to the driver in front for avoiding the pedestrian too. In that split second following my sudden stop, I just knew, the car that was accelerating behind me wouldn’t stop in time. In that split second, it felt like I was almost waiting for him to hit the back of my car….and of course he did.
It could happen to anyone. It only takes a split second and it was by far the more preferable outcome than might have been the case had the car in front not reacted so quickly.
The driver of the car behind was clearly upset by such a bad start to his day. ‘I could really do without this’, he repeatedly moaned. I resisted the urge to tell him how proud I was of my emergency stop and how thrilled I was that when I really needed them to, my slightly wonky brain and slightly slow and shaky body communicated with each other with a speed and efficiency rarely seen. My ability to refrain from telling him this, reassured me that my slightly wonky brain was also doing quite well in the emotional intelligence department.
It was a strangely satisfying, reassuring and dare I say it, uplifting journey to the supermarket. My brain and body, whose performance I often bemoan, did brilliantly under pressure. All credit to them.
PS Mum, don’t worry, no-one was injured and the car can easily be repaired.