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The Show Me (How To Drive) State

Gerald_wreckAnother week of blogospheric silence... what gives?

Well, to be honest, I've been a little preoccupied.  You see, I had a boo-boo.  More appropriately my car, Gerald, had a boo-boo.  Specifically, the Ford Escape was not engineered to smooch a utility pole.  So the car is now totaled... gone to that great parking lot in the sky.

How did it happen?  Well, funny you should ask.  There was another driver... an evil Missouri driver... also heading south on the same rain-soaked street last week.  He decided he would rather be in my lane than his, so he made a rather rapid switch immediately.  Then he also decided that he was going too fast in his efforts to get around me, so after he made his lane change, he proceeded to slam on his brakes before eventually speeding back up, leaving me to take evasive measures to avoid rear-ending him.  My evasive maneuvers led me right into the nearest parking lot where the Kansas City public works department decided a utility pole should be strategically placed.  Meanwhile, he was merrily on his way, unaware he had caused anything.  Enough said.

Amazingly, even Missourians criticize themselves when it comes to driving.  The people at my client site have made worse comments about their fellow drivers than my inside voice could ever conjure up.

Office politics sometimes work like that other driver.  People changing lanes, slamming on brakes, performing tactics on wet pavement... not very happy for the rest of us.  So how do we practice DEFENSIVE DRIVING in an office setting?

  • Lane Changers - look for people who change their decisions and positions quickly and often.  Get things in writing from them and hold them publicly accountable.
  • Jerks and Stops - beware of those who pull the "hurry up and wait" game on you.  Validate urgencies and deadlines before work begins.  Make everyone aware of the consequences of starting and stopping tasks frequently.
  • Wet Conditions - what is your business environment right now?  With the current economic crisis, "slippery when wet" probably doesn't even begin to cut it.  Be extra careful when playing politics if there are bigger business issues to address.
  • Immovable Objects - if you find yourself having to take evasive action when dealing with office politics, make sure the avoidance won't cause even more trouble (i.e., utility poles) than actively engaging the other poor drivers.

These are just a few of the lessons I learned last week.  All in all, I have much to be thankful for.  Outside of a banged up knee, I wasn't injured.  The car was insured.  Nobody else was hurt.  The pole was replaceable.  And it's a great time to be car shopping.  And I've re-learned the importance of defensive driving... on and off the road.


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Scot Herrick

I'm very happy to hear you are not hurt and logistics are now the only issue.

This is why you have to have health insurance -- it's not you, necessarily, but other people crossing lanes to screw up your life.

Protection means something.

Timothy Johnson

Yes, let's hear it for risk mitigation!

Pete Jones

Tim - I was awaiting the Post about the accident, which I knew would have a good picture of Gerald. So sorry for your loss. But, at least Lola made it through the accident, so your next vehicle will have some resemblance of normalcy.

Timothy Johnson

Hi Pete... yes, Lola survived and will be living in a new car soon enough. Although I don't know if I could come up with a name like Gerald again (great story in itself). I may have to hold a car-naming contest on my blog when it's all said and done.

Dr. Delaney Kirk

Wow. Looks like Gerald got more than a banged up knee! Glad you're ok!!

J. Erik Potter

Say it ain't so? No more Gerald? I will forever link Gerald to the SOBCon08 road trip. Glad to hear you and Lola made it out alive.

Scott Monty

Ouch. I hope you're okay, Tim.

Very cool that you cared enough about your Escape to name him Gerald. If there's anything I can do to help get you back in a Ford, let me know.

Meantime, maybe you'll find some of this informative and/or comforting: http://ford.digitalsnippets.com/safety

Scott Monty
Global Digital Communications
Ford Motor Company

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