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We’re in Good Hands

Just because crash-avoidance technology is getting smarter doesn’t mean drivers are.

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Jason Stahl has 28 years of experience as an editor, and has been editor of BodyShop Business for the past 16 years. He currently is a gold pin member of the Collision Industry Conference. Jason, who hails from Cleveland, Ohio, earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from John Carroll University and started his career in journalism at a weekly newspaper, doing everything from delivering newspapers to selling advertising space to writing articles.

I don’t know if you knew this, but I’m the safest driver in the world. I know, everyone thinks they’re the best driver. But not everyone can be right, right? Some people’s version of “good” might be going 80 miles per hour to keep the flow going and not be one of the stones (those who drive under the speed limit) who everyone else flows around. But 80 is reckless if you ask me.

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It’s a good thing not everyone drives like me, otherwise there might not be a need for the collision industry. I use my indicator. Always. I would put it on even if I was on an endless, desolate desert highway with my only company being the buzzards circling overhead. I always…ALWAYS…wear my seatbelt. I even wear it if I’m simply getting back in the car to move it across a parking lot. I go the speed limit or a little higher. If the speed limit is 65, I go 65 to 70. Period. And I never…NEVER…tailgate. Tailgating scares the tar out of me. I always make sure there’s at least four car lengths between me and the person I’m behind.

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With all this talk of collision avoidance systems and computer-driven cars in the future, it occurred to me the other day that, at least in the present day, the collision industry is in good hands. Every day, when I make my perilous 66-mile roundtrip drive to work, I sit back and watch potential disasters unfold before me.

My main route, Interstate 77, is two lanes for a good way, and that’s a recipe for disaster. Slow people who get in the fast line get the fast people mad, who end up tailgating or wrecklessly swerving around them. Note to fast people: I see you in my rearview mirror barreling toward me at 90 miles per hour. I will get over…if you let me. But you don’t. You assume I’m a daydreamer and will stay put. So I put my turn signal on to move to the right, and then we almost collide because you moved over too.

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The most common offense I see? Tailgating. The second? Speeding. The third is probably failure to use a turn signal. Ever see the two-lane crossover? Someone swerving across two lanes with no indicator? Gotta love that, especially when they do it right in front of you because they forgot about their exit. How about do what I do and take your medicine and get off at the next exit?

Yeah, there are fewer collisions these days. But there are plenty of numbskulls on the road who will continue to bring you work.

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