(For Parts 1 and 2 of this true story, see The Time I Got Hit by a Car and The Time I Vomited in Megan's Car, respectively.)
It's been almost two months since I got hit. I'm still in physical therapy. There are good days, and there are bad days. The bad days mean it hurts to sit or stand for longer than 30 minutes, sometimes even 10. Walking feels good, but I usually have to walk pretty slowly -- and I'm usually a really fast! Now I feel like I'm walking at a snail's pace!
The question I get most often is, "Do you have flashbacks?" And the answer is no, I don't. I do, however feel somewhat frightened by and skittish around cars. I have to walk by the scene of the accident every day, and every day, I see those skid marks. Every day, I scoot to the inside of the sidewalk just a little bit (as if that helps!) to put more space between the traffic and me. If a driver makes any sudden movements coming out of a parking garage or turning a corner, I jump a little. And I never, ever, ever walk through a crosswalk unless I see the little white man. Even then, I pay attention to what the traffic looks like.
I'm incredibly grateful that I'm alive and mostly well. I realize that the accident could have been much, much worse. But I am not grateful for this trial. I have gained an amazingly different perspective because of my accident, but I would've been fine living life without such perspective. Still, I think I ought to tell you what I've learned from this newfound view on life:
- Drivers are generally extremely inconsiderate to pedestrians. The drivers at State Street and South Temple are particularly egregious. I witnessed an almost auto-ped accident just last week. The driver obviously just wanted to make her light, so she drove into the crosswalk, even though the crosswalk sign showed that pedestrians had at least a dozen seconds remaining. But that's the way it is. Although cars have increased the speed of human travel by . . . well, by a lot -- drivers are still in a big, fat hurry. Forget that pedestrians have nothing to shield them from these multi-ton pieces of metal -- drivers must make their light!
- The world isn't made for slow-moving people. Traffic lights in Salt Lake City are built to give pedestrians 16 seconds to walk from one side of a very wide street to the other. When you're walking slowly, 16 seconds isn't much time. It's especially not enough time when you have to wait for people who want to make their right turn, even when the little white man has just popped up. So now you're down to say, 13 seconds; by the time you get to the other side of the street, you have to start watching out for the driver on that corner, who is itching to make his right turn. I can only imagine how difficult life must be for the elderly and a person with a disability worse than mine.
- In the United States, one crash-related pedestrian death happens every 2 hours. Pedestrian injuries occur every 7 minutes. Alcohol involvement for the driver or the pedestrian was reported in 48% of the traffic crashes that resulted in pedestrian death. Most pedestrian deaths occur in urban areas, non-intersection locations, and at night.* Do with that information what you will, but remember: Alcohol can get you or someone else in serious trouble if you drive while intoxicated. Just don't do it!
I could say so much more on this subject, but 1) it would take several more posts, and 2) it's difficult to put all of my thoughts into words. So this is the last auto-ped post. As a final thought, though, I want to reiterate one thing:
Slow down in life, whether you're driving or running late for something or listening to a child. People move really, really fast, and for my part, I don't think it's quite as healthy as slowing down a bit.
*Source: Pedestrian Safety (CDC, 2014)
Thing I'm thankful for: Mandy, my physical therapist