Campbell Valley Regional Park, the site of some risky driving behaviour
We can’t always avoid crashing, but our attitude and even prayer can protect us. As I’ve seen the devastating impacts of road crashes, when I drive, I often pray for a safe journey. I recently learned a more powerful way to pray.
In a recent broadcast, Joel Osteen, a minister and writer in Houston, Texas, encouraged us to pray not by begging, but with praise. Rather than asking God for healing, we can pray: “Thank you for the healing that you have already provided and are continuing to provide.” That positive approach envisions the answer to prayer and takes our mind to a stronger place.
So this time I prayed differently: “Thank you for being with me as I travel, and for protecting me. Thank you for protecting the animals near the roadside.” I pray for animals because I'm sad when I see them lying at the side of the road.
I was yawning. That morning I’d woken early after only four hours of sleep, ideas swirling, and got up to write them down. I knew that driving when very tired added challenge, but I also had the power of prayer helping me. And I felt fortified after spending time with family. I’d been dealing with a troubling issue, heard their perspectives, was listened to, and came to a conclusion. I felt loved and offered love. I was also reminded about the power of God to perform miracles. Stories of miraculous interventions often arise in conversations with my father.
As my vehicle descended from the 152nd Street overpass that crosses Highway 1, a tiny white taxicab approached from the right. It was barrelling along, but as I had the right of way, I decided to keep my pace and keep an eye on the cab.
The taxi pressed on as if I wasn’t there. As it zipped into my lane just before I was about to be there, I leaned on my horn. The cab responded and stopped after a bit. I heard my anti-lock braking system groan as my car slid on the wet pavement. At the last moment, I steered a bit to the left before coming to a stop. We didn't collide.
The cab continued on. I saw two passengers in the front and rear. I shook my head and whispered, “What was that?!” I felt the presence of God, the same protective presence that my family had just spoken about. I offered thanks.
I experienced a similar incident that was even more dramatic years ago. I was driving eastbound on Broadway in Vancouver, when I entered an intersection through a green light. A vehicle suddenly turned into my path. She was coming from the opposite direction, from the left turn lane heading southbound. The driver later said she couldn’t see because of a large truck blocking her vision, so she’d just decided to go.
I hit the brakes hard. When I saw the vehicle still in front of me, at the last moment I swerved to the left. I heard the grinding of metal and felt the impact. We both pulled to the side of the road, but there was no evidence of any collision. I thought that I had somehow averted that collision. Now I think differently.
Recently I returned from Abbotsford in the dark and rain. I offered my newfound positive prayers for the journey, for the safety of myself, animals, children, other pedestrians and cyclists that I might encounter.
When my eyes began to get uncomfortably dry, I offered another prayer. Ever since I had laser surgery to correct my distance vision, my eyes can get dry, especially in the car with the fan blowing. Bright lights can also be more disturbing. This time when my eyes got dry, I prayed, “Thank you for giving me vision, for helping me to see.” Then I shifted the rear view mirror to mute the lights of a vehicle that was following me closely. Suddenly the road before me was luminous with reflective markers in the middle defining the lanes, the surface clear and spread out before me. Although my eyes were still dry, I could see much better. I thought, this praise approach is working!
That night, two drivers passed me in a way that I would not have recommended. I was keeping a good pace, but they must have been in more of a hurry. The first was where 16th Avenue dips and curves through Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley. The speed limit slows from 60 to 50 km/h (37 to 31 mph) to reflect the sharply winding road. It was shocking to see the vehicle speed up to about 70 km/h as it passed me there contrary to a double solid yellow line.
Soon after, another driver passed me on another stretch where it was prohibited. Just before the driver re-entered our lane, another vehicle appeared in front of him in the opposing lane. Those double solid lines are there for a reason.
We're hearing that ICBC, our government-owned insurer of motor vehicles, has lost a lot of money. If they required more driver training, I believe that many injuries and even deaths could be avoided. You can now get a license without formal training, although restrictions are lifted earlier with training. It isn’t enough. Drivers involved in collisions should also have to learn defensive driving. Regardless of fault, there is always more to learn.
I’m grateful for the driver training I had when I first got my license. I learned to drive for the conditions, slowing when roads are slippery. I learned to watch other drivers and anticipate their moves as best I could. I learned to watch for pedestrians, children, cyclists, and animals who might suddenly dart into my path. I learned that yielding was not a measure of weakness and is often the best course of action.
I learned that aggressive drivers don’t always get to their destination faster, and more importantly, they don’t always get there. A fast-moving vehicle is a sort of weapon and it needs better regulation of those who use it.
- Irene Plett
Topics: driving, ICBC, prayer, inspiration, Joel Osteen, driver training, Campbell Valley Regional Park