November 14, 2008
I am the driver for MichiVan Adrian 2 Van Pool and we recently needed to established a way to make sure we are communicating during deer season, and all emergencies. Here is our story:
Well, it happened again this morning: the first commuter deer-siting incident of the season. Last year we established a protocol due to a silly conversation. This is how it went:
Co-pilot: “Um, dear?" Pilot: “Yes?"
Co-pilot: “Dear?!" Pilot: “Hon?!"
Co-pilot: “DEAR!!!" Pilot: “SWEETIE!!!"
Co-pilot: “BAMBI." Pilot: word association: Bambi is a deer so….applied brakes.
“Bambi‿ became our signal that deer are off to the side of the road. Keep in mind that this morning was the first deer-site of this season, so we all were a bit rusty on protocol.
Co-pilot: “Whoa." Pilot: silently wondering did she slosh coffee on herself?
Co-pilot: ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" Pilot: silently thinking that coffee must have been very hot.
Pilot: silently thinking Babies? That sounds a little like Bambi! Looked over at co-pilot, out passenger window, and then applied brakes. Young deer were way off the road, but moving towards it.
We’ve now reworked our protocol to an easier word to remember: Stop.
This word can be used by any van pool member at any time to indicate anything that causes them concern or that may affect the van pool and its passengers. Situations like way off the road deer moving toward it, a bicyclist coming up from behind who is not following road rules, a dog that might run into traffic, “I think I’m going to be sick and would like out," are some examples. I check the rear view mirror before applying the brakes to be sure that avoiding the problem in front of us won’t cause a bigger problem behind us.
It is always the driver’s sole responsibility to be aware and continually “sweep" the road and roadsides with their eyes as they are driving. Most of the time, my 6 passengers are asleep in the mornings. I take that as a compliment. If any passengers happen to be awake on the commute, they are welcome to participate and be another pair of cautious eyes.
Just a note from experience though: protocol and key words don’t end up being much help when a buck jumps out from behind a tree, off of an embankment, and lands squarely on your hood. There’s just no way to prepare for that.
Be safe and cautious this fall. We want to keep waving to you when we see you on the road.
Posted by jaselin at November 14, 2008 07:54 AM