Monday, December 01, 2008

drive carefully, everyone

This morning on my way to work, about a mile from my exit on the brief stretch of freeway I drive, I noticed flashing lights up ahead. I slowed down and pulled into the left lane, wondering if I would be able to get on to my exit.

Before I even saw anything, I knew it wasn't good. The sheer number of emergency vehicles, the lane closure, and even a couple snowplows (not plowing snow, I think they were there just for traffic control) suggested tragedy. When I saw the two vehicles involved, my heart sank. A small pickup, front end obliterated. A compact car, wrecked.

All morning I kept checking online news reports. About half an hour ago I found the first report: two dead. Head on collision. Young woman lost control of the car, crossed the median and struck the pickup truck, killing the 50 year old male driver. It happened about 45 minutes before I drove by. The freeway was in good driving condition.

Sometimes it seems like my daily commute is an automatic act. I forget what an incredible land speed 70 mph actually is. Humans were not meant to travel so fast. I may think I'm in control, but my life is in the hands of every other driver out there...so be careful.

6 comments:

Robert V. Sobczak said...

It's the most dangerous thing we do every day, not just because of the speed, but because it's exactly what you said: routine. More and more people are using cell phones as well, which weaves drivers in and out of lanes.

RuthieJ said...

How sad! It's scary -- the number of people we see using their cell phones for talking (and even texting!) when we're driving to and from work.

barefoot gardener said...

I had the same thought as I was driving home from work yesterday morning.... We got a dusting of snow, the type that is really dry but still manages to be slippery, and I was thinking about how big my van really is and how destructive it's weight could be moving at 60 mph. It's really scary to think that something so incredibly dangerous could be common-place enough that we don't even think about it...

Jayne said...

Whew... scary Deb. We just really never know what might happen, and so again need to appreciate every single day. My heart goes out to the families of those killed.

Carolyn H said...

Deb, what a sad story and one that happens far too often. Lately, in my area, these things are happening along straight stretches of road, where I think people feel it's "okay" to pick up the cellphone or text someone.

Carolyn H.

Deb said...

Robert S.- Exactly. I don't habitually use a cell phone while I'm driving, but I do tend to feel like I'm on autopilot.

RuthieJ- And they're always the ones who aren't looking where they're going.

Barefoot- Automobiles are deadly, no coubt about it, but we conveniently forget about it because it's so difficult to get by in most of our suburban and rural our culture without one.

Jayne- I have been thinking about this a lot- two families affected forever in a split second.

Carolyn H- It does seem that there are a lot of accidents on what appear to be safe stretches of roads; people get more complacent.

Today on my way to work I was on a two lane road and there was a convoy of three tractors hauling small mobile homes in the oncoming lane. One of them lost a wheel off its trailer and it rolled across my lane! Luckily the driver ahead of me was alert enough to hit the brakes and avoid it.