"Believe what ya like. Think what ya like. You'll be judged for what you do."
-- Tim Minton, Eyrie

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Glad to Be Alive

     Right now, I'm just grateful to be here.

     Over the weekend B and I witnessed an accident on I95, north of Baltimore. I was driving in the middle lane, doing the speed limit at 65 mph. B was sitting in the passenger seat.

     There was a box truck up ahead in the left-hand lane. I hadn't noticed it passing me by, which I would have done if it had been really flying. But it was in the left-hand lane, so it was probably doing around 70.

      B saw it before I did. She let out a squeal. Then I saw the puff of dust and dirt. The truck was veering off the highway into the center median. For a second I thought he was going to cross over into oncoming traffic.

     Instead he swerved back onto the road. I saw the box of the truck start to wobble and tip. It only took a second, but time seemed to slow down as the truck turned again, trying to correct. Then the top of the truck slanted to the right, balanced on a knife's edge of gravity and momentum. Then it toppled and flipped.

     I didn't see the truck go all the way over. There were cars in front of us in the way. But fortunately, traffic was relatively light. I hit the brakes and slowed to about 20 mph, following other cars.

     As we inched forward I saw the truck up ahead, on its side. It was by itself. No other vehicles seemed to be involved.

     The cars ahead of me slowed even more. Traffic stopped for a moment, then inched forward again. By the time we approached the overturned truck there were already two cars stopped -- one in the center lane beyond the truck, the other pulled up onto the left-hand shoulder. A woman was standing by the side of the truck with a phone to her ear. A man was reaching up to the cab of the truck. The driver's side door was open. The man was trying to help the driver climb up vertically out of the truck.

      I thought, briefly, if I should stop too. But we were in a line of traffic that was moving slowly down the right-hand lane. I could try to get over. But what could I do? The driver was trying to get out, having difficulty because he was climbing out the top. But he was struggling like it was difficult, not because he was hurt.

     We figured the woman with the phone was already calling in the accident. But B dialed 911 on her phone anyway, just to make sure. She reported the incident, gave the mileage marker and her name and call-back number. Clearly, the woman on the other end of the phone didn't know about the accident, but we thought she would pass it on to the dispatch operator -- who may already know about the accident but at least this would confirm it.

     By this time we were past the truck, and traffic was speeding up again. We breathed easier, thinking there were no injuries and we had at least done our duty to call it in. Two minutes later we saw a police van coming the other way, lights flashing. We assumed it was responding to the accident.

    We don't know what happened to cause the turnover. Was the driver texting or talking on the phone and just got distracted? Did someone cut him off and force him over onto the shoulder? Did he fall asleep? We'll never know. We're just glad he wasn't hurt -- or if he was, it wasn't bad -- and there didn't seem to be anyone else in the truck, or any other cars involved.

     It's dangerous to be out on the road these days. Please be careful over the holidays.


Wisewebwoman said...

Afterwards, we can look at these lucky escapes and count our lucky stars and wonder how many we have left.

So glad you guys are alright.

I remember spinning out of control on unexpected black ice on an 8 lane highway in Ontario and winding up facing traffic who were also beginning to spin.

I will never understand how none of us hit and killed each other. My heart still pounds thinking of it.


Tabor said...

Ihave had my share of close calls on the highways and sometiems wonder when my time might give out. Thankfully you were spared.

Barb said...

Defensive driving is so important. always watching what is ahead and behind is part of my driving routing constantly. Good for you for driving and calling rather than stopping. Once one or two cars have stopped anything additioal is a hindrance for responders. I actually saw a car on the opposite side of the road that was on it's side this trip (a four lane divided non interstate highway where the speedlimit is 75. Two cars were stopped near the car, and all the following cars had already stopped or pulled over to the side to allow ambulances and so on to get by. Lovely to see everyone was helping and there were no rubbernecker types as such.

DJan said...

So glad you are okay, and that nobody seemed to be hurt in the accident. These things happen so fast it's hard to respond quickly enough. You did the right thing.

Janette said...

I am glad for your safety. I hope everyone else was fine.
It does make me take pause and take inventory of my life when those happen.
I have been close to so many accidents. Slowing for most, stopping for two. I carry blankets& a rather large first aide kit in the car---and a fire extinguisher. An accident in my front yard when I was six set me up for a life of carrying stuff just in case.

Arkansas Patti said...

Phew that was scary. So glad you are OK and that the driver probably was also. When things like that happen we realize that we are just one breath away from our lives changing drastically.

Trudi said...

Is the picture flipped? Driver on the right?

Tom said...

Yeah, these incidents sure do make you pause, don't they? Trudi, good eye! I got the picture from a free image site that apparently used a photo from Britain.

gigi-hawaii said...

David got into an accident involving a truck. He was in the right lane when the truck veered into his lane and scraped the side of David's car. Neither driver was hurt, but David's car was severely damaged.

Savoring Sixty said...

How frightening and so glad both of you are okay.

Carole said...

This is sobering. I'm driving solo to FL in a couple of weeks. This is a reminder that even the best of drivers are not able to predict what other drivers might do. So glad to hear that you and B are OK.

Linda Myers said...

It's scary to witness an accident like that. I remember one time a car rolled over just ahead of us. My son, in training to be an EMT, scrambled out of the car and went to help until the first responders arrived.

Barbara said...

Seeing accidents like that cling to you long after. Those are "there but for the Grace of God go I" moments. It made my heart beat just reading about it. When you have lived into Boomerhood you have seen, known or been affected by several accidents. We know they are real and we fear them for ourselves, friends and family. When we are all driving flying cars, I wonder if the skies will be as dangerous.

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David @iretiredyoung said...

I'm glad you and B are safe. It's a good reminder that we must take care while driving, it only takes a slight loss of concentration for something to happen. Glancing at our phones, going too fast or not leaving sufficient gaps to other vehicles, we all do some of these. Following your post, my pre Christmas resolution is to double down and be safe when driving.

Celia said...

So glad you two made it through safely, what a heart stopper.

Cindi said...

Oh my goodness! Glad you are safe. And sound.

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