Have you ever slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting a car that abruptly braked in front of you, or even a pedestrian suddenly darting into the road?

Ever swerved to avoid a deer or piece of junk on the highway?

I have, plenty of times. Almost always, I have stopped or swerved in time to avoid disaster.

But not always. Once, driving through Kansas, not one, but two deer leapt in front of my car, shattering my windshield, totaling my car and nearly killing me. Another time, driving home in a thick fog from a ski trip in Lake Tahoe, I plowed into a stopped car, which had in turn plowed into another stopped car that had hit a semi rig in a massive, 40 car pile up. Naturally, the car behind me crashed into me as well. Then there was the night that a wooden loading pallet shook loose from its bindings and fell off of a truck in front of me. I swerved almost in time, but ended up just clipping the pallet with my right front tire, blowing the tire out, losing control of the car, and smashing head first into a pylon.

Thank god for airbags!

Looking back, the thing that has struck me (as it were) about all of these near misses and disasters was how incredibly thin the margin between a collision and a non-collision was. When I did manage to react in time, the margin of safety was usually just a few inches. Similarly, when I didn’t avoid trouble, as with the wooden pallet, an inch or two would have saved me, if only I’d had that inch or two.

This brings me directly to the subject of wearing sunglasses while driving.

Don’t ever do it.


Originally Published In Psychology Today

© Dr. Eric Haseltine

Play Brain Games for Free


Enter your email to access the Brain Games.

You'll receive a password and a link to the Brain Games page in your email.

I will occassionally send you updates about Brain Safari and other related content.

Check your email for the password to Brain Games