Impression: an idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone, especially one formed without conscious thought or on the basis of little evidence.
Something that happened recently had me thinking about how one moment can leave others with an impression of you that is not who you are at all. So many things could have happened here to turn this event into a bad situation. We are lucky that it did not.
We had been driving down a slightly snow covered road with one other vehicle behind us. It was a clear day though it had snowed overnight. We have winter tires and have no problem driving on snow covered roads. The road had been plowed and it was not bad to drive on.
Another vehicle turned out of a driveway right in front of us. There were only two vehicles that they had to wait for to pull out, but chose to do so. They also chose not to clear the snow off their vehicle which blew right on to our windshield for a few minutes, leaving us with the impression that they were a little rude for having pulled out and not cleaning the snow from their vehicle. Furthermore, they were driving at least 40 km slower than the speed limit. They either had no snow tires or were not confident when driving in the winter weather.
If they knew this, why not wait for the two vehicles to pass and then pull out? Why be in a rush to get in front of us, only to drive 40 km under?
We knew we would end up passing them and waited for a safe time to do so. My husband is a cautious and courteous driver. He is not a speed demon and doesn’t drive like he owns the road. We weren’t in a rush, but we also did not want to drive 40 km under the speed limit. I understand driving slower than the speed limit on less than perfect conditions, but the road was fine at the time. We had been following them for about 15 minutes and were now at a level part in the road. My husband saw no on coming traffic and decided to go around the vehicle. He did not even have to speed to pass them.
This is when things could have gone bad.Once we got beside them, we noticed a tow truck was on the side of the road. Take note that we were not going fast, 50 km at the most, the speed limit was 80 km. It was a legal pass. No one was in danger. When you pass someone, you drive back onto the road. We would have not been anywhere near the tow truck driver or his vehicle.
What happened next was what the tow truck driver did, that could have made this event a dangerous one. He decided to rush out in front us, waving his arms around.
Several things could have happened here. We could have hit him if we were not capable of stopping right away. We were pulling in front of the other vehicle by now, we would have slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting the driver (if we were speeding or did not have good tires), the vehicle behind could have hit us!
My husband thought maybe there was a medical emergency or the guy needed help. So he stopped in the middle of the road to see what the tow truck driver wanted. What he wanted was to flip out on us! Maybe was having a bad day. They have a do high stress job, it is not only stalled vehicles they deal with, they have to tow vehicles after terrible accidents, in bad weather too. They fully understand most of these accidents occur were preventable by distracted or speeding drivers. So, I will give him that. But we did not fall into either of these categories.
If he had not ran out onto the road, none of this would have happened. We would have made the pass and everybody would have carried on with what they were doing. Safe and sound.
Back to what happened next.
My husband rolled the window down to see what was wrong. The tow truck (TTG from here on out) guy said, “You picked a fine time to pass, you didn’t see me?”
He was clearly upset. No we had not seen him before we passed because the road was level, we were right behind the mini van that were were passing, so that side of the road just ahead was not visible to us. When you are passing, you are not particularly focused on what is on that side of the road anyway.
My husband explained that we had not seen him and that we were passing because the person in front of us had been driving 40 km the whole time. I was upset because I wanted to apologize and explain what had transpired, but by now, we were holding up traffic. I did not want the guy to think we were careless drivers.
We respect emergency personnel and their vehicles, always pull over to the for
them or give them a wide berth when we see them on the side of the road.
My husbands sister is a police officer.
The TTG then hit the our driver side mirror with his hand and told us to “Get the f_ck out of here” We were in shock.
So many things could have transpired after this:
1 – TTG was angry. If my husband was not such a big guy, I wonder if the TTG would have become more aggressive than he was, had it been a smaller person that he did this to. He had the guts to act like this to a man larger than him, and he was a big guy too.
2 – My husband could have been the type of person to react to this rude behavior by getting out of the vehicle and escalating this into a road rage event. He didn’t, although had I not been there, who knows. If it had been when he was younger, there was no way he would have just wound up the window and left.
3 – We could have hit him or caused an accident by swerving because we were not expecting the guy to run out on the road!
I am glad none of the above did happen. I am more upset by the actions of the TTG. He put other people at risk by making a poor decision. I am also upset that he hit our mirror and was aggressive. Swearing at us. Not good for business.
I also wonder, had anything bad happened, whether we would be believed. It would be his word against ours. He was under the impression we were careless drivers. He works with emergency personnel all the time. They know him.
This is when having a dash cam can be your best friend. Your only friend.
That leaves me with the first word of this post: Impression.
We were under the impression that we were following a bad driver or someone that had no snow tires, and did not care that their snow covered vehicle was blowing it all over our windshield.
The TTG was under the impression that we were in a rush and were were rude and careless drivers.
We were left with the impression that the TTG was someone having a bad day and was clearly an aggressive person.
Who knows what the driver we were passing was thinking?
This is all still bothering me days later. I wanted to call the tow truck company to explain what happened but my husband said to let it go. I think they should know. Maybe now that I have written about it, I can just let it pass.