Saturday, July 30, 2016

Oh, Hello Officer

Geoff has been driving for under a year. We are coming up on the one year anniversary of his license achievement. He does really well. Most 19 year old males drive fast, and stay out late, and do crazy things. Geoff goes to work, the gym, the market, and home. He took the dog swimming one day.  

That's about it.

He drives like a grandma, according to some people I know. I had a friend call me one day to let me know that she and about 10,000 other cars were behind Geoff driving through our town and that made her smile. 

It makes me kind of proud really, considering two of Jessica's peer level teens died in car accidents. One took a turn too fast and rolled her jeep. One crashed into a bridge abutment on her way home from trying on prom dresses. 

Today, Geoff came home from the gym and informed me that he had a problem on the way home because horses were crossing the street. He didn't know what to do. He obviously knew to stop and let them cross, and he felt they were sufficiently across the street so he decided to proceed. He pulled over to the right into the shoulder, and one of the horses decided to back up. The rider got incredibly upset that Geoff was driving behind the horse and spooking the horse. She started yelling "stop" but she didn't make it clear that she wanted the horse or him to stop. 

So he took off, came home, and was happy to be back here.

He told me this story, and I basically explained to him that unlike pedestrians, or bicycles, or motorcycles which all seem to be "in control" and moving in an anticipated and logical direction, horses are dumb. 

No offense to horse owners or riders. But face it, anything that big that you never know how it is going to act, come on, man. They're dumb. Should you really be riding them on a major road, even if this is in a small town?  They are easily scared, they do things like back up and walk forward and back up. You never know what a horse is going to do. And riders are incredibly proud of their prowess and skill, but I swear, I never see a motorcycle flip out and take off to the right or left or back up in traffic... unless the biker is having a stroke. 

But, I digress.

We talked about horse safety, and I told him that if he sees horses in the road, crossing the street, wait until everyone is safely across. If some jerk behind him beeps the horn or guns it to pass him - so be it. 

That guy's the jerk in the situation... you be the person in the right. 

If he sees horses on the road traveling the same direction as he is traveling, he should give them a wide berth and if at all able with safety in mind, cross the center lines and go around the horse gently. Don't gun it, don't rev the engine, just carefully pass. He understood completely and went upstairs.

Ten minutes later Officer Friendly was on our porch, knocking at the door. 

The police had gotten a call about a dangerous driver, and they got Geoff's plate number, so dispatch sent out the officer to the house. The officer asked for Geoff's side of the story, and wrote him a warning. I asked if there was a webpage where we could brush up on the rules of driver and horse safety so he told us the law, Massachusetts 90, 14. Readable here if you like to read giant run-on sentences in legalese. We all should brush up a little bit on rules of the road, mayhaps. 

In the meantime, I am kind of waiting for one of these horse people to post something on the town Facebook page, which I'm the admin for.  I will explain that my son had a visit from the police, we had a talk, and if they want to start something, I'll go along with. Perhaps.