Yesterday, I was on my way home from a playdate with Mister Man. We’d stayed longer than I originally intended, and it was rush hour as we drove back. I avoided one of the major areas of traffic in town and took a side street to get back to the main divided highway. As I got to the stoplight to turn left onto that highway, the emergency light over the stoplight turned on.
I watched a fire chief vehicle go speeding north and a small firetruck followed shortly thereafter. As I finally got my light, I turned left and proceeded in the same direction that the fire vehicles had gone. No biggie. I saw a Black Mercedes SUV come roaring up behind me and pass me going at least seventy in the fifty-five zone. I shook my head in disgust and continued on my way.
For about a half mile. At that point, all traffic stopped, which I assumed was just par for the course on a Friday afternoon. I saw the SUV drive onto the shoulder and keep speeding along. I sighed out loud and told Mister Man that I sure hoped that this car was hurrying because they had a connection to an accident ahead and not because they were simply that rude.
We sat in that spot for almost twenty minutes. In that time, I saw another firetruck and an ambulance come up to the left of us and passed on. I started to realize that yes, there was an accident up ahead. Then I saw another firetruck and two more ambulances stream by a couple minutes apart. Going north in the southbound lanes so they could go more quickly. Yikes.
There was not an option to turn around, as the divided highway had a big ditch between the north and southbound lanes. And given where I was on the road, there wasn’t a side road for another three quarters of a mile or more.
Eventually we started to inch forward. Very slowly. I finally got to a cross street where I could see that the police had blocked off all the northbound lanes and were finally funneling onto the side streets. As I turned right, I could see the black Mercedes parked on the side of the road and empty.
My heart sank. While I selfishly was hoping that the person wasn’t simply being rude, I didn’t truly wish pain on him in hoping that he was related to someone involved in the accident. And it was a bad one. I could see the burned out shell of the car down in the ditch, and two ambulances were loading patients in them. I couldn’t see much more.
My guess is that someone was coming from the side street where there is only a stop sign and was trying to either turn left or cross the divided highway and misjudged where oncoming traffic was and was t-boned into the ditch. Other people were picking up large pieces of cars — bumpers, etc.
I said a small prayer as I headed on home via backroads. I finally got back to the other major street near me and headed west towards home. I got to the final stoplight before my neighborhood and saw the emergency light turn on. I watched an ambulance come streaking up and head to the hospital I had just passed. It had to have been from the accident I had been trapped by earlier.
I was happy to see that the lights were flashing and the ambulance was hurrying, as it meant that at least one person was only injured. I also realized that the small two minute stop I had made on my way home that had delayed me slightly may have been more beneficial than I thought.
It so easily could have been my car involved. Was my stop the reason that I wasn’t two minutes ahead and part of the awful crash? Was my last minute instinct to see if a business was open (it wasn’t) what saved me and Mister Man from tragedy?
And the next time I see a car streaking around me hurrying for what I had always assumed was no good reason, I will be saying a small prayer that everything is alright with them. And my assumption will be that they need to hurry more than I do.
PS When you are driving and come to a stop, please PLEASE don’t block roads and driveways and business entrances. You aren’t going to get anywhere any faster by being eight feet forward, and anyone who wants to needs to get in and out cannot. Isn’t that such a simple way to make life easier for so many people? Plus, I’ll like you more if you let people get through.