Cruising for a bruising
Everyone gets excited about the weekend—some are just more demonstrative about it than others.
Such was the case with a 38-year-old Reading, Pa., man last month who kicked off his weekend on the West Shore Bypass. While driving his minivan through busy Friday afternoon traffic, the man climbed out of the driver’s side window and stood on the roof of the vehicle as it continued down the highway at about 55 mph.
Witnesses told police that the unmanned vehicle eventually drifted from the right lane across the left lane and into the concrete median. It then veered back across the highway into a guardrail, which catapulted the man into a wooded embankment.
Drivers worried that the man was dead, but he was just getting warmed up. After climbing out of the embankment, the man stripped naked and began running down the side of the highway. Despite a foot-long gash in his side, he resisted all attempts to end his party early.
After chasing the man for several hundred yards, police were eventually forced to restrain him in order to get him medical attention. But that was no easy task. Three separate jolts from a Taser had no effect, nor did pepper spray. Police ultimately had to tackle the man and handcuff him in order to get him into an ambulance.
When asked what he was thinking when he climbed on top of an unmanned moving vehicle, the man cited the classic Loverboy defense:
“Everybody’s working for the weekend / Everybody wants a new romance / Everybody’s goin’ off the deep end / Everybody needs a second chance / Oooohhhh.”
Misdirected anger hits the target
The postman isn’t the only one who rings twice.
Glenn Sparling, 65, of Ravenden Springs, Ark., crashed two cars into the same post office in the same day.
Police say that Sparling kicked off his Sunday by ramming his Chevy Blazer into the side of the post office. He then fled the scene, but his truck soon broke down.
Undeterred, Sparling went home and picked up his red 1960s Mustang and headed back to finish the job.
A deputy spotted Sparling in the Mustang and gave chase. The pursuit ended when Sparling crashed into the same post office again, this time driving halfway through the wall of the building.
Fortunately, no one was injured in either crash. However, the post office didn’t fare quite so well, suffering extensive damage inside and out.
On the bright side, plans to add a new wider entrance are suddenly ahead of schedule.
Power of suggestion
A new study suggests that telling your wife she’s a bad driver just might be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Conducted at the University of Queensland in Australia, the study found that women who are told that they are inferior drivers are more than twice as likely to lose focus and run over a pedestrian.
Researchers recruited 168 women and observed their performance in a driving simulator. Half of the participants were told that the study was investigating why men are better drivers than women, while the other half were simply told that the study was examining the mental processes involved in driving.
Nearly half of the drivers who were reminded of the stereotype hit a jaywalking pedestrian in the simulator, more than twice as many as in the control group.
A second experiment showed the same accident rate among drivers who tried to operate the simulator while taking a grammatical test.
Researchers concluded that when people are confronted with negative stereotypes about themselves, the mental distraction can be just as powerful as an external distraction.
So this Mother’s Day, play it safe and keep your mouth shut when your wife tries to parallel park behind that Mercedes.