Luck was with me that day. I was at the front of the line, the first car at a stoplight, so when I got hit from behind my car slid into the blessedly empty intersection without hitting another vehicle. Before the impact, I don't even remember if I had taken note of what kind of vehicle was behind me. But I was sure it had stopped.
It had. It was an SUV four vehicles back that caused the chain reaction.
Accidents happen. No one seemed too badly hurt, mostly just shaken. I guess my headrest was at the right height because my neck soreness left in 24 hours or so and I didn't have to worry about whiplash.
Like I said, I was lucky. But luck doesn't always hold.
A few weeks later I went on a retreat with my prayer group. We pulled our cars into the small parking space at the retreat house and didn't move them until we were finished the next morning. I was parked behind one of my friends. I guess she was worried we weren't quick enough to get to church before it began, I'm not sure. She put her car into reverse as I still was placing my key into my ignition. Bam! She backed directly into me.
There is no headrest to cushion the jerk when a driver is bent over the steering column and gets hit from in front. Ow! My car wasn't damaged, but my neck was sore for weeks.
So these days, whether parking or stopping at a light, I try to stay far enough back that I can see the tires of the vehicle in front of me. But no matter how much I yell into my rearview mirror, the driver behind me rarely heeds the same advice. So I stop, then roll, then roll a little bit more. So if I roll away from you, it's not that I don't like you. But the nose and tail of my loyal vehicle have already been bruised enough. I'll thank you for giving me space to breath!
Beth Dotson Brown is a freelance writer and editor in Lancaster.