Bumper cars

I’ve owned this green Mini Cooper S for about six months now, and I’m more convinced than ever that someone’s trying to kill me while I’m in it.

This was not a side effect I considered when my wife and I agreed to own a vehicle this small. It’s a tremendous city car and a rocket on the highway, but its diminutive size and British green color appear to help make it invisible in a lot of circumstances.

Other cars swerve into my lane, come to a screeching halt behind me when traffic stops and otherwise appear to have no concept of my existence. I’ve been in at least a half-dozen near-accidents since buying the Mini; none of them involve me doing anything stupid; they all involve vehicles apparently not seeing my car at all.

In at least once case, I avoided imminent doom by just mashing the accelerator and sending the car rocketing out of the space the minivan that had been in the lane next to me suddenly decided to occupy. A couple of buses have also made this sort of occupational demand on my space without notice; in one case, I avoided a smacking by hitting the brakes, which almost caused the car behind me to rear-end me instead.

All of this has happened even though I’ve only driven the car about 4,000 miles in six months (I take the Metro to work, although I drive about five miles to the station). That’s a lot of near-death activity for such a small amount of driving. But I do love the car — even though it’s so small that a guitar won’t fit in the trunk space — and I guess I’ll just have to keep that Potential Death Radar running at all times when I’m in it.


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