A Driving Disaster
February 17, 2005. I had attended my Jazzercise class downtown at Royal Elementary School, and I was driving home in the dark at 7:00 p.m. My endorphins had kicked in. I was “wired” in the best sense from my workout, and now from the exhilaration of listening to
Hayden’s Water Music on Hawaii Public Radio.
Driving down Ward Avenue the light was green, and I was ready to turn left. I heard a deep male voice from another car yell to me: “Hey!” I paid no attention. The light turned yellow. I kept turning left.
As I turned, I discovered to my horror that I had turned left onto Beretania Street, a five-lane, one-way road—and I was going the wrong way! Going the wrong way on one of the most heavily traveled roads in congested Honolulu.
How to extricate myself from this nightmare? I immediately moved to the far right lane. The car coming toward me slowed to a stop and the cars in the next three lanes also stopped to allow me to do a fast U-turn, which I did. I felt sick.
Suddenly a police car with blue lights flashing was following me. Of course. I pulled into the far left lane near the State Library, stopped, and rolled down my window. I unzipped the wallet pocket of my purse, ready to take out my driver’s license.
The police officer approached. “Hi,” he said.
“Hi, Officer. You saw me.”
“Yes. Are you from here?”
“No, but we’re snowbirds, here for the winter. This is a rental car. I lost my bearings. I was coming home from Jazzercise and got distracted. I should have turned left on Kinau. Some very nice drivers stopped for me to turn around.”
He nodded. “You missed your turn.”
He had his ticket pad in his hand and opened it.
“Officer, I’m terribly sorry. It shouldn’t have happened. I know better.” I was totally prepared to accept a ticket.
He closed his ticket pad. “Just be careful from now on.” I thanked him. I drove slowly down Beretania, turned left on Punchbowl Street, and managed to get home without another crisis.
The impact of what I had done swept over me and I felt like crying. I trembled. God had been watching over me and saved me from a horrible accident, not only to myself, but from having a head-on collision and killing other people.
What happened was, unfortunately, rather typical of me. I got so wrapped up in the beautiful classical music that I literally went on automatic pilot. My thoughts drifted and I did not pay attention to what I was doing. God gave me a break—He delivered me from a disaster that would have affected every driver around me and their loved ones.
It was a wake-up call.