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My View: Reversals of fortune behind the wheel

By Peg Cushman

I realized at 16 years old that I might have a potential future issue. The first time it happened was with an audience, my mom and my two best friends. I was brand new driver and the very first time I backed our large family car out, I hit a telephone pole. I call it “reverse revenge.”

Reverse revenge would follow me through the years, rearing its ugly head when I was least expecting it. My boys asked me to take them sledding one cold, snowy winter day and as we were leaving, bang, who put that car directly behind our driveway?

I lightly kissed the car of a neighbor, left a note and off we went. We live on a narrow street and it’s fair game if anyone parks there. Actually I only smacked one more neighbor that was parked in the no-no zone. Paid for damages and life went on.

One day I went to pick up a painting and as I was backing out onto a very busy road, I heard the old familiar noise of metal screeching and ripping my car apart. I hit a mailbox post that was already missing the mailbox; someone had beat me to it. What was left was a long piece of metal that happened to get in my way.

In my defense, I always felt that my vehicle was too much car for me. It had a delicate little beeping sound if I was near anything I should avoid. If the car manufacturers could please install a warning system with flashing lights, a voice that yells stop or even a gizmo that turns off the car, it would help get my attention.

Another morning I was meeting friends for breakfast and as I was leaving, boom! Another lady was also backing up at the same time. Crunch!

Peg Cushman.

I really am very careful and always look behind and check my backup screen but it was very sunny and all I saw was a glare. It was an even wash, we were both guilty. Breakfast wound up costing me much more than my tree painting had. Amazingly this happened in my beloved Lacrosse car. I went three years without any reverse revenge until that fateful day that happened to be two weeks before my lease was up. The timing was extremely unfortunate.

My most recent reverse revenge happened at home. This time I was backing up into our driveway when the wrought iron fence jumped out and hit me. Once again, I’m in a car that feels like a land yacht.

The old familiar sound of metal biting metal made my stomach sink, the damage wasn’t pretty, our iron fence is bent and mangled and the car looks worse. How does this madness keep happening to me?

I confessed to Mike immediately and he gave me the usual look, but somehow I believe he has mellowed, I’m afraid he realizes it will continue – we just never know when.

Be warned if you do see me trying to back up, run, hide, drive away as fast as you possibly can. Even though I do everything possible to back up safely, reverse revenge still creeps up now and then.

On a positive note, I can drive forward like a champ and never have any mishaps; actually there was the time at the bank drive-thru when I thwacked the drive-thru box and the tube bounced off the door and rolled under the car. Also, I may have hit our garbage cans a few times but our car collision shop owner loves me because I keep him busy. Watkins Glen, here I come!

Peg Cushman, of Niagara Falls, helps keep her collision shop in business.

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