Monday I saw probably the most prevalent example of instant karma that I have ever seen. It was fantastic, classic and sobering all at the same time. My sister, my bil and I were headed back to my house from the hospital late in the afternoon. My bil is from Wyoming, and still lives there, so he does not like the crowds and traffic that come with living in a “city”. Earlier in the day we had had a discussion about whether drivers in Utah are defensive or offensive drivers. My argument is defensive. You have to drive defensively here in order to avoid being in an accident. His argument is that offensive driving keeps you out of accidents, and that’s the Utah driver. The conversation basically ended with an agree to disagree sort of tone.
So, as I said, we were on our way back to my house in the late afternoon. I had chosen one of the interstates as the fastest route. We were in the center lane, and I admit that I was in fact speeding. However, I was going with the flow of traffic which resulted in our speed hovering only about 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit. As we traveled along, a dark blue Dodge Nitro with Nevada plates passed us in the passing lane. Something I didn’t really pay attention to initially, since he was not going excessively fast or driving erratically, and this is a common occurrence on the interstate. When the Nitro was probably about three car lengths ahead of us, followed by another vehicle, suddenly along came a late model, silver Pontiac Grand Prix barreling its way up the passing lane. It pulled out in front of us, though not at too close a distance, without using signals at all, and basically crossed all three lanes to get to the right-hand “slow” lane. It immediately pulled back into the center lane, passing very closely in front of the vehicle directly ahead of us, again using no signals, and again crossing three lanes to return to the passing lane. (As the vehicle was passing in front of us, my bil made a comment like “see, offensive driving”.) It entered the passing lane directly in front of the Nitro. As we watched, suddenly the Grand Prix slammed on its brakes, causing the man in the Nitro to also hit his brakes. Neither vehicle skidded their tires, but the slowdown was sudden enough that nearly every vehicle in the vicinity of the incident hit their breaks as well, including me. Then the Grand Prix let up on the brakes, and immediately slammed them on again, causing the Nitro to hit his brakes again, and coming even closer this time to a collision. I saw the passenger of the Grand Prix throw his arm out of the window in some sort of angry gesture, and it dawned on me that we were witnessing a road rage episode. Now we have no idea what it is that the driver (and apparently the passenger) of the Grand Prix perceived the driver of the Nitro to have done, but clearly there was some prior conflict we weren’t witnesses to. And, truth be known, every driver on the interstate in proximity to this event is extremely lucky that the driver of the Nitro had such good reflexes. Had he collided with the Grand Prix at that speed, it would most like have sent that vehicle spinning into the other lanes of traffic and, there’s no doubt in my mind, every vehicle in the area would have been involved in the pile-up. Including us.
Now here’s where the karma comes in. After the second time the Grand Prix hit its brakes, we noticed the driver of the Nitro pick up something with his right hand that looked like a cell phone. My sister said, “he’s calling them in!” The very next instant, the Nitro’s headlights and taillights began flashing. That’s right. The Nitro was a law enforcement officer of some kind. Both vehicles crossed all three lanes of traffic, and the Grand Prix was pulled over on the shoulder of the next exit. The best we can figure, the driver of the Nitro was either a Nevada officer, or an undercover agent of some sort. And when we thought he was calling the cops, he was actually radioing for someone local to come and effectuate the arrest, or else radioing for backup.
The reaction from all of the occupants of my vehicle was the same. First a collective “Awwwww s*&@!”, followed by cheering and even a little applause. As I glanced around at the other vehicles on the road, their occupants appeared to be of the same mindset, with smiles and fists shaking victoriously in the air. We discussed the charges the Grand Prix’s driver could face, and determined that among others he could be charged with speeding, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, assault with a deadly weapon, assault on a law enforcement officer, etc. It was our estimation that he probably was arrested on the spot, or could have been if he was not. My sister said “see, that’s why you don’t do crap like that.” She’s right, for several reasons. One, you could cause an accident. That one would have been huge, and a miracle if not fatal to someone. Two, you don’t know who’s in the other vehicle. The Grand Prix driver was probably lucky that it turned out to be a cop. For all he knew, it could have been some psycho with a gun. The episode was cause for a lot of thought, on all of our parts.
My final comment to my bil? “See, defensive driving.”