Glenn Listman has a few things to say:
Judging from some of the questions students ask me in class, I get the impression they think Defensive Driving instructors get some sort of special pass to drive on a secret system of highways where no one cuts you off, all the lights are green, and we all exchange lollipops at intersections.
Well, here’s a little story to show you otherwise…
I was at the bank today (really, a comic at a bank. It’s a true story. OK, I was stocking up on free pens for class. Getting that chain off is more work than it looks like.) As I was walking back to my truck a man approached me and asked, “Sir, is that your vehicle?” pointing to my truck.
I said, “Yes. Who wants to know?” I was suspicious; bordering on flat out paranoid.
“Sir, I’m an off-duty police officer and I…” OK, now I was beyond paranoid. I was flashing back to my DWI days. But I haven’t had a drink in over seven years. He continued, “…and I just saw a woman strike your vehicle and drive away.”
Relief! Then ANGER!
It turned out an off duty police officer witnessed a woman back into my parked truck. I had parked it, like a good Defensive Driving instructor should, smack dab in the center of the parking spot. And of course I picked the spot with empty spaces on either side to add to the illusion of safety. She backed into it, meaning she had to drive PAST my truck and then back into it. Like she was aiming for it with a Demolition Derby maneuver. She then pulled back out and drove away. She kidney punched my truck! The officer actually ran around the building to look for her! He was able to get a partial license plate number from a temporary plate and a description of the car.
Armed with this information I contacted the police department and exercised some of this Defensive Driving instructor power I’m supposed to have. After waiting on hold for 45 minutes I finally got through to a duty officer. I explained my situation to him, and he told me I could drive over to the police station (35 miles) so they could take pictures of the damage. Just in case they find the vehicle that the temporary tags are currently attached to. Then there’s the matter of who was driving. I think he said I was really out of luck. Needless to say, I declined on the photo shoot.
So now I’m in the same boat as everybody else. Do I pay the deductable for the repairs and watch my premiums magically go up? Or find the rubbing compound I bought the last time some idiot hit me? In that case I was sitting in dead stopped traffic on I-820 at US 377 (Denton Highway). Somebody actually rear ended me!
So far my truck has been hit twice. The grand total of my speeds at the time of both crashes? Zero miles per hour!
My thanks to the off-duty officer: you tried to help.
And the next time you think the instructors are getting special treatment, think again.