Throughout my driving experience I've been at the scene of of 3 major traffic accidents.
I was once again on the scene of an incident involving multi-vehicle involved collissions Friday afternoon in Arlington, Texas.
This relates to "situational awareness" in the sense that I was exiting the dental clinic where my wife was having extractions done preliminary to getting her dentures. I thought I would walk to a nearby Taco Bell and munch on a couple of 99 cent tacos while she was in the dentist's chair.
I was about to pass between two parked vehicles into the traffic aisle when I heard this ear-breaking noise like a front-end loader dragging it's bucket on the pavement. As I glance in the direction of the approaching racket - still not observing anything unusual I see this sedan coming in my direction being driven without a tire on the right-front rim. My mind isn't even beginning to process this situation when this "3-wheeler" plows into the vehicle just ahead of it - pushes it to the side, and proceeds to plows through the parking lot colliding with three other vehicles before finally stopping about 500 feet away at the other end of the lot.
My first reaction was that this was a road-rage event,or perhaps an enraged woman who was after her two-timing man- because I did notice that the driver was a female. I'm alerted - what is going on here ? What 's going to unfold next ? Is she going to get out and start shooting somebody, or what?
Within about 10 minutes things resolved to reveal that the female driver who was about 90 or so- had apparently experienced a blowout, or flat and had just wanted to get her car off the main street , but obviously became disorientated, or experienced a seizure. Fortunately nobody was hurt. I was about 6 feet away from being squashed between the two vehicles.
I think this experience may be relevant to our ongoing consideration of situational awareness because I was surprised at my own erroneous initial assessment of the incident. I was expecting a really dangerous individual to be behind the wheel of that car. Like everyone else in the parking lot - I was pretty confused, and I was confounded by my inability to get my android phone to co-operate and connect to 911.
This incident got me to thinking......This is what it could be like in face of a criminal threat that may involve any of us. Shock, confusion, misinterpretation, misinformation abounds = chaos.
I involved myself - with some reservations, and proceeded with caution - partly due to natural curiosity, but also because I am a proactive type of person who is not reluctant to jump into a situation if circumstances warrant.
My point I guess is - that I would "score" myself with perhaps a "65-70 percent " on my awareness, perception, and interpretation of what I observed.