Sunday, February 8, 2009

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks...

I got a particular kick out of today's (2/8/09) Doonesbury in the Sunday comics. (Click the image for enlarged viewing). The following post explains:

I've been sidelined this past week by a major car accident involving my truck (a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 quad-cab) and an 82-year old tourist from Iowa driving a rented VW Jetta. On the way to fetch my 6-year old son from his after-school chess club, the mid-sized VW sedan blew through a stop sign without looking, slowing or yielding and t-boned my truck.

The impact knocked off my front right wheel (hence, no steering or brakes) and landed me across the road in a culvert after smacking head-on into a large Palo Verde tree.

I wound up in the Emergency Room for most of the night but was released following X-rays and a CAT scan that showed negative for spine or neck fractures. But my truck was a total loss.

So I'm at home, healing, and resting my aching back and neck. And I'm reflecting.

I've always driven a truck - largely for the utilitarian value - but lately, as I've become more and more interested in and committed to living a sustainable life, I've been feeling more and more guilty about my choice of vehicles. And now that I'm forced to make a decision about a new one, far sooner than I'd hoped or expected, suddenly everywhere I look I see ads for cars and trucks; ads to which I'd never paid much - if any - attention prior to the accident.

Now I'm taking particular note of the fuel efficiency and the practical economy of smaller cars built by Kia, Hundai and Suzuki. Not only do they cost less to buy than a shiny new Dodge Ram truck, they get far better gas mileage. Also, too of course are the hybrids... Toyota's Camry and Prius, the Honda Insight and Civic, and bigger, the Saturn Vue, GMC Yukon hybrid, the Chrysler Aspen and the Ford Escape.

Not to put too fine a point on the already obvious, but along with the Volkswagen, the accident itself hit me like a ton of bricks with the realization of the degree to which I've been part of the problem. Since I can't be totally carbon-neutral (e.g. ride a bicycle everywhere), I do intend my next automotive choice to reflect an enhanced consciousness of the consequences of what I drive, and where, and how fast I drive it.


  1. Sorry to hear about the accident.

    Perhaps you and Doonesbury should travel by Personal Rapid Transit. As explained in the following article.

  2. The PRT pods I like, Seamus. But I fear the concrete "rail" tracks they run all over town on, the central computer system that directs them and the requisite destination switching stations every few-hundred meters might wind up being ever so slightly - how shall I put it? - oh, yes..."cost-prohibitive" in terms of initial build-out & installation.

    Still, a fine and forward-thinking notion. I'll mention it to Mr. Trudeau next time I see him.