I saw a wreck on the way to work yesterday morning. A bad wreck.
Well, I didn’t see it actually happen; I just saw the aftermath, and it looked really serious, perhaps even fatal.
It was dark outside. A car had slammed into the rear end of an eighteen-wheeler, become lodged under the trailer and dragged to the shoulder of the freeway. By the time I got to the scene, after crawling along with the now slow-moving traffic, the car was out from under the truck. It was one mangled heap of metal. I thought, no way the driver survived that.
I read later that day, he was in critical condition at a local hospital. I don’t know if he made it.
I wondered briefly if he was texting right before it happened. For all I know, he was doing absolutely nothing to distract him from his driving. The accident may have simply been unavoidable, however careful he was.
And maybe, he’ll recover from this. Judging by the looks of that car, though, I think that would be a miracle. But, miracles do happen, sometimes.
I just know this for sure: it only took a second for that man’s whole life to change.
Or worse, end.
We’re all such skillful drivers, aren’t we, that we can just multitask all day behind the wheel. We eat, we drink, we talk, we text, we shave, we put on makeup, we read a book or a map, we write, we mess with the radio…
Amazing to see how many people get behind the wheel of a vehicle, and then treat driving as something ancillary to what they really want to do. To them, driving is just Muzak, playing in the background as they go on about other business. How many times have we been on the road and noticed someone doing one of the above activities as they drove? We thought they were insane, right? Or just plain stupid.
Now, truth time. How many of us are guilty of doing one or more of those things, ourselves?
I know I am.
The thing is, folks, there’s no such thing as a slow accident. A second is all it takes; one second of your attention paid to something else besides driving.
Next thing you know, you’re under a truck. Or you’ve “t-boned” another driver. Or veered off the road, into a ditch. Or even struck a pedestrian.
And I know what we all think: Oh, nothing will happen to me. The ego might even jump in, here: I know what I’m doing; I got this.
I’m sure the driver yesterday morning thought the same thing.
According to http://www.distraction.gov: In 2014, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.
All those people, injured or killed, because the driver was distracted.
Not to mention, all the families of those 3,179 victims, asking – through angry, bewildered tears – why their loved ones were so suddenly and savagely taken from them, leaving them to pick up the pieces and, somehow, move on.
Because some driver was focused on something other than driving. For one second.
Does that make any sense at all, to anyone?
Friends, let’s be careful on the road, OK? These aren’t toys we’re driving around in. They can do serious, permanent damage. To other vehicles, other people, other lives.
Put the phone/razor/mascara/hairbrush/book/map/burger/soda down and just drive.
P.S. – Just learned the driver that crashed into the eighteen-wheeler died early this morning.
He was 24.