Exactly 1 month ago today, I had an early finish. I tended to go above the speed limit for the 60km/hr zones but have always kept it under 70km/hr (so I don't go to the next fine tier if I'm ever caught). It's hard not to be pressured to drive a little bit faster when the car behind is tailgating you for doing the speed limit. But that day, I was relaxed, just driving along. There were no cars behind me & I just drove at the speed limit. It was Wednesday & therefore petrol day. I always go to the same petrol kiosk near home & was about to arrive at the turn point when I saw 2 policemen standing behind a bush lift up their speed camera. As I was driving at the speed limit, I knew I was safe. Nobody ever keeps to the speed limit on that road & although there're 2 lanes, people will still choose to tailgate rather than overtake me. I always keep left becoz I need to make a left turn so it's not like I'm hogging the right lane. After the close call, I decided that it isn't worth the $100 fine. I have to work for a few hours to earn it back. So I've been good for the past month.
2 days later, we went on our camping trip. I knew my tyres were approaching the end of their lifespan. But it was at the camp site that I had a good look since my car was parked right beside the tent. I found that the medial halves of both front tyres are bald. The lateral halves still have some tread but not much. I wanted to get my tyres replaced the 1st day that I had an early finish at work after coming back from camping. We had a minor spat over the tyres. Hubs refused to believe me, insisting that I ask the mechanic if the tyres needed changing. I insisted that I refused to ask such a stupid question when the answer is painfully obvious. How can they not require changing when they're half bald? Men! They're just so stubborn. I drove in to Tyrepower & just told the mechanic that I would like my front tyres changed. He checked it for me & said, "Yeah, they're quite bald. You'll definitely need to get the front changed. The rears are still fine. I'll recommend that you do a wheel alignment as well. See how it's worn off on the inside? The tyres are probably tilted inwards. The alignment will straighten out the tyres." $229 & 45 mins later, I drove back home with my new shiny rubber. The report came out that 1 tyre was tilted 6 mm & the other 10 mm which was why my previous ones were worn off unevenly.
Fast forward to 3 days ago. It was Wednesday. Busy, busy day with 9 cases in the morning & 8 cases in the afternoon, both VR surgeons & VR surgeons are very speedy with their Phacos. I was scrubbing the whole day as they're both "my" surgeons. I pushed hard becoz nothing is worse than starting a case with your trolley in disarray. By the 16th case, I swear I didn't feel like moving another inch. It's like working in Sg once again. Finally, the last patient was done for the day. Though physically tired, my mind was still active & rapidly firing away from all that speed. That perhaps made a difference in what was to come.
From the car park, you either turn right or left. It is easy as that car park junction is governed by green arrows. I need to turn left to go home. On the other side of the traffic, the right most lane is governed by the green arrow as well. I come to work that way. You turn right into the car park when the arrow is green. You will never clash becoz if I'm turning left leaving the car park, the other side will be turning right into the car park via a different lane. That day, my green arrow was lit & I went up the slope out of the car park to make my left turn. At the same time, a BMW used that car park lane to make an illegal u-turn. We narrowly missed collision. The BMW had tinted windows but I could make out that the driver turned to look (or glare) at me. I won't know becoz the tinted windows were too dark for me to make out the sex of the driver even. Adrenaline pumping, I proceeded with my journey.
Traffic was bad as it always is at that time of the day (5.30 pm). It took me 45 mins just to clear PMH. But once past the junction to Graham Farmer Freeway, smooth traffic will always resume. I was about the half way mark from home when it happened. I kept left as I always do. I also kept to 60km/hr becoz of the near miss with the police. A Toyota suddenly came flying out from the side street on my left. I was so close to that junction that I didn't think that I would stop in time. I stomped on the brakes & braced myself for impact. My tyres screeched & everything on my backseat came flying. When I finally slammed to a stop, I was so shaken I didn't even think to honk at the driver who almost caused an accident. When I replayed the video recording, I found that I went from 60 to 0km/hr in 2 seconds. The Toyota driver just drove off as if nothing happened.
So many, so many elements played a part in me escaping injury & definite writing off for my car. If I had been driving just 5 km/hr more as I used to, if I had been driving with my bald tyres, my stopping distance would have increased, I most definitely would have crashed into the Toyota. My ABS was working or who knows where I would have skidded to. In an impending crash, will you be in the state of mind to pump the brakes up & down so the tyres won't lock? In life, things can change in a split second. All the more we shouldn't begrudge our lives. Rather than envy someone who you think has more or is better off, remember that perfection is only an illusion. Nobody is problem or worry free. Instead, we should live out our dreams & seek to make the world a better place in our small & unique way. Choose encouragement over harsh words. Be gracious whenever we can. Let it start with me.