Friday, November 18, 2005

Be Careful Out There!

I’d like to extend a very special thank you to all of the folks who left huge piles of leaves along the shoulder of the street where I live. They provided me with a challenging opportunity to display evasive driving maneuvers this evening when I had to yield to emergency vehicles, which were speeding to the scene of a very serious accident ahead.

How do I know this was a very serious accident? Because every fire truck for a ten mile radius showed up. I should point out that there was no visible fire when I passed the scene, but the trucks continued to stream in. More were arriving as I got off of the road and safely made it into my driveway (no thanks to the efforts of local emergency personnel, or to my husband, who had the driveway blocked when I got there). All of those fire trucks, a couple of ambulances and a police car or two, and NOBODY WAS DIRECTING TRAFFIC around this chaotic, poorly lit site.

All cynicism aside, this looked like a bad accident, and my thoughts are with the folks involved. There aren’t too many accidents on this road, but when they happen they are often deadly. People just go too fast, and they don’t show any consideration for those who are waiting to make turns. They seem to be annoyed when they have to slow down for a car turning into a driveway. This is totally asinine because it’s never a very long wait. It mostly requires a brief slow down. But heaven forbid that they would have to show courtesy to someone else.

I guess I’m especially annoyed by this because my nephew had a very serious accident last winter on his way to work. He had started a new job several months before, and he loved it, but he can’t do that job anymore. He was waiting to make a turn that morning, not two weeks after Christmas, when someone rear-ended him and pushed his vehicle into oncoming traffic. Sadly, tragically, he was not in his new F-350 pickup, which was in for service. He was in an older, smaller Toyota pickup. 12 hours of surgery, 4 months of in-patient rehab (wearing a clamshell), and 1 new wheelchair later, he is still fighting to regain the ability to walk.

I’m sure that the person who hit him didn’t mean to do it, and he has to live with the knowledge that he caused this much harm to another human being. That thought would drive me crazy, and I mean that quite literally. Not one of us can say that we haven’t had a momentary lapse while driving that had the potential to be disastrous. But the long term impact can be so very serious, so life-altering, that we need to take care, both with our own lives and with the lives of others. So be careful out there, OK?


PaxRomano said...

How sad; and it seems to me (or is it just because I am getting older) that most folks seem to be driving a lot worse these days (chatting on their cell phones while maneuvering their monolithic SUV's)... I hope your nephew regains as much independence as possible!

Merci said...

Thanks, Pax. I do think that more people are "DWD" - Driving While Distracted. I see more people crossing the center line, failing to yield at stops, tailgating, etc.

Joe Tornatore said...

Speed racers are a subsidiary of the fact that life has become so high octane that it occurs at high speed or sometimes not at all.
p.s. you are the first person to ever ask for my book more than once. lol. if you plan on attending the holiday luncheon at command central next month i will give it to you then if not sooner.

Merci said...

Sounds good! Yes, I'll be there; I'm on the committee! ;)

Joe Tornatore said...

it's a deal. $11.99 one to be exact.

Weary Hag said...

How terribly sad about your nephew. Best wishes to him for a complete recovery!

You're absolutely right about the overdone turnout at accident scenes. Of course we should expect to see an ambulance, police cars (a couple ... one to do take the report and one to direct traffic) and okay, sometimes a fire engine ... but I've seen this sort of mess several times now on our highways and 90% of the time most of the vehicles blocking traffic are completely unneccessary.

There's something to be said for "if we all slow down some, maybe we'll actually live longer."

Virginia Gal said...

Gosh that is so sad, I hope things look up for your nephew soon!