Rich – Earlier today I witnessed firsthand what happens when a family car and an 18-wheeler both try to occupy the same piece of road, at the same time, while travelling at 70 miles an hour.
It was a dry, sunny day with not a cloud in the sky. I was driving down Highway 401 between Cambridge and Kitchener, when abruptly my attention was caught by something not far ahead. At first I wasn’t aware of what I was seeing, because of the dozen or so vehicles in between. It was as if a sudden cloud of ice crystals had blossomed amongst the traffic, glistening and glittering in the bright sunlight. In a strange way – for the briefest of moments – it was quite beautiful.
Until reality kicked in and I realised what I was actually seeing.
About a hundred metres ahead, a car was swerving dramatically back and forth across the road, having evidently collided with a tractor-trailer. The silvery cloud (through which I was by now driving) was actually the sunlight catching pieces of plastic, glass and metal, which were streaming off the stricken vehicle like a comet’s tail.
The next thing I knew, I was hurriedly trying to stop, while picking my way between bits of debris. Most vividly, I remember seeing a piece of smashed hubcap as it passed between my wheels.
Quite by chance, I found myself on the shoulder, across from the remains of the car – a destroyed silver Acura – sitting stationary in the middle lane. Afraid of what I might see, I looked inside the vehicle. It was empty apart from a lady in the driver’s seat. I remember feeling extremely relieved to see that she appeared to be talking to herself. Around me, people were already on their phones calling for the emergency services or running to help her.
From my vantage point of the crash, I hadn’t seen what caused such a frightening accident on such a clear, bright day. I have no idea who – if anyone – was to blame. What I do know, is that if I’d been just five seconds further up the road, I would have witnessed the whole thing in my rear view mirror, instead of up ahead of me.
And what might have happened if I’d been just three seconds further up the road doesn’t bear thinking about…
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