Op-checking the ABS
Last week our kid dragged me back to the megaplex to watch Vin Diesel in "The Pacifier". To a Navy junior this movie must seem to depict her family life, but I'm not sure whether to be flattered or affronted by the comparison.
However I'm glad I went because ol' Vinnie displays some amazing minivan driving dexterity. Our 12-year-old ("only 3.5 years to my driving permit!") wannabe was especially impressed by his locked-wheel 180-degree tire-screeching smoke-drifting curb-slamming "parallel"-parking maneuver across four lanes of traffic.
On the drive home she asked me how to do that (no doubt so that she could study up for the driving test). My smart-aleck reaction was cut off by the parental thought that if I didn't make this seem boring & difficult then she'd feel compelled to experiment. So I said "Well, it's harder than it looks in the movies" and started a long tedious engineering discussion of rotational physics, dynamic friction, transmission/engine/tire wear, and two-footed braking/acceleration techniques. *Snore*-- mission accomplished.
Yesterday the whole family (Grandma too) was heading to the grocery store in our '94 Ford Taurus wagon. I was in the left lane of our two-lane road getting ready to pass a van when the driver discovered an urgent need to be in my lane. So, he blinked his signal twice (absolving him of all responsibility for subsequent events) and quickly moved across our front bumper. I started to brake but I was hemmed in by his (former) lane of traffic. Then he decided that what he really needed was to make the upcoming left turn, so he cranked on his wheel. Suddenly his relative velocity went from a few MPH narrow stern aspect to about 25 MPH closing T-bone.
Luckily I already had a foot on the brakes so I just had to lean on the horn and use the handy shoulder grass for maneuvering room. Panicked by my noisy protest (or hoping to stay in target range) he also slammed on his brakes. But by this time I'd started to turn to our left, too, so as we screeched to a halt we ended up next to each other on the road to which he was turning left. We must've had a whole 6-8" of separation.
Into the stunned silence our kid observed "Thanks for explaining that, Dad-- it IS harder than it looks!"
Explaining that comment to Grandma took a lot longer...
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