I was that inattentive driver a day or two ago. My apologies to the pedestrian that I almost clipped. You were in the right and I was in the wrong. It’s hard even now to make that admission of being wrong. In the first few seconds you know you are wrong and you are embarrassed. There is a witness so it isn’t like being wrong when no one is around. After whatever awkward attempt at making things right, it is amazing how quickly I wanted to come up with an excuse/justification:
It was raining
He wasn’t there when I first looked there
The light changed and I was already out there and needed to go
What was he doing there anyway
Normally I’m all over this, this was just a rare lapse
I see people do worse stuff all time
He saw me and stopped walking so no problem
He wasn’t anywhere near getting hit so no real harm done
All those thoughts in less than 15 seconds and probably in less than 5. All attempts to get rid of that sick wrong feeling that I might have hurt him. All of that rather than stopping (mentally) and saying wow, that was close. What just happened there? How did I get in that spot and what steps do I need to take to correct for that?
Its so much more tempting to go the first way. You reestablish equilibrium pretty quickly that way, probably no more than minutes. There is no ask of you mentally so it is much easier. No harm is done to the ego. You just pave over the rough spot and everything is back to good.
PS: I tend to bark a lot when I drive. Play by play commentary on all the dumb things that drivers/cyclists/pedestrians are doing around me. There is no shortage of fodder. Perhaps, though quite unlikely, this may be a wedge to change that habit/behavior.
PPS: So far, not so much on changing the play by play commentary behavior.