Freaked out like crazy: I ran a red light and put myself and others in very real danger. How did I forget how to drive safely for 10 seconds?
posted by chocolatemilkshakes to health & fitness (49 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ok, this is real bad. In my commute home from a work shift this morning I ran a red light and I'm not even sure how. I'm really freaked out because I probably should be dead right now, but thank God, I didn't have any sort of accident. I don't know if I was just like seriously absent minded and need to do some serious work on my attention or if there is some sort of major medical psychological reason for this. The more I think about it, the more I feel there was something messed up going on in my head. Lemme' explain and please tell me if you have any insights, also, I'd really love to know if this sort of thing has happened to anyone else before. Ok so here is what happened:
I leave my job and am driving. I was thinking/daydreaming which I do a lot while driving - being alone with my music and my thoughts for about 40 minutes. So anyways, I am thinking, and coming up to a light - I can't remember now whether I noticed there was a light coming up, but I think I did. There are quite a few lights spread out over this stretch of road, so I kind of had to realize there was one soon. So once I get almost to the intersection, I have this really bizarre thought process, which is what is scaring me the most about this whole deal. I come to the intersection, and see that cars from the cross road are turning, going across the intersection and I think... "Why are they trying to turn when our lane is going?" Instead of slowing down to at least see if they would realize and stop, I just keep going full speed (really dumb even if I had a green light). Well so I keep going and end up part way into the intersection when I look and realize that the light is red. It was this strange, all of the sudden - "oh crap" moment. There was a car that had started to turn and the driver must have been the best driver in the world, because we avoided each other and didn't crash, but it could have Easily happened. That was when I was realizing what was going on, I swerved a bit to avoid them, and they slowed down. Also, the road I was on was several lanes wide, which is what kept me from getting totally swiped by a oncoming car as soon as I went through the intersection.
So then, I was extremely freaked out I kept going because I didn't want to cause a crash then or anything. But at the next intersection I turned and ended up retracing my path to be sure no one was stopped or anything back by where I ran the light. Right after it happened I was kind of like ok, so I get pulled over now right, so at first it was weird to keep driving, but at that point it seemed all my wits had returned to me and I knew I couldn't stop in the middle of the road. So I went back just to be sure everything was ok and also I wanted to be sure I hadn't caused someone behind me to wreck or something.
So I don't think the light had just turned red when I went through, I actually have no idea how long it had been red. What ever car was in front of me had gone through. And part of me thinks I was paying attention to them and just going because they were going. But they might have been a ways in front of me. Any way it's just bizarre to me that I actually pulled out into the intersection. I feel like something was going way wrong in my brain at this moment. If I had actually realized the situation - that the light was red - I would have never attempted to go through. If it had actually clicked in my head I wouldn't have been careless with my life and the lives of the other people on the road. Which is why it terrified me so bad after it happened. It made no sense.
Obviously I noticed that there were cars turning, why didn't I put the pieces together that they weren't just going to stop for me, even if I didn't know there was a light there? It is like the normal thought processes, that would assess my surroundings and put together what they meant, were not working - or more like they were working in slow motion, like it took me too long to put 2 and 2 together.
As far as how I normally drive, I'm not the world's best driver, but I've never done something this so stupid. I've never run a red that I've seen before crossing the intersection! Is it possible that simply because I was distracted with what I was thinking that I missed what was going on? But I noticed the cars turning and made a mental note of it, I just didn't come to the right conclusion immediately from that fact like I should have in a properly functioning state. I wasn't too distracted to notice the road, my noticing just didn't inform my reaction very well. I wasn't doing anything to the radio, or looking at my phone, or focused on anything inside the car. I was looking ahead at the road. Part of me wondered if it would have possible to have some sort of 1 second seizure or something - but it's not like I didn't know where I was because, as I said, I can recall the thought process I had as going through the light.
Only other things I can think of that might help explain what the heck could make me be so dumb are that I didn't sleep a ton last night. Probably just a few hours. But I was not exhausted or falling asleep. And I had been awake and functioning at my job for a few hours already before this. The only other thing is I do deal with anxiety issues at times, and I've been severely PMSing the last few days, which always makes my anxiety worse. But at that time, while I was driving, I wasn't really very anxious about anything. I'd be really surprised if just anxiety could cause me to go to that level of blanking out, and I've also functioned over serious levels of anxiety, and like I said during my commute (at least before this incident) I had very low levels of anxiety if any, but I'm just throwing it out there so you have some info to work with.
YANMD, but what's up, do I have some major issue? Is my brain failing me? Was I seriously distracted enough that it incapacitated me enough to forget that you don't cross an intersection when there is oncoming traffic and a red light?!?! Is that possible? Please let me know what you think and if you've ever had this kind of experience. I hope I didn't overload with details, I'm just hoping there's a clue as to what was happening here, because I'm seriously spooked.
I hope this makes sense and hits the relevant points. I'm really freaked out still, so I'm probably not writing in the best style. Thanks in advance for the help.