Sunday, July 22, 2007


Yesterday, we went to the pool with my sister and her daughter, Sophie. We had a blast, picniced outside and tired the girls completely out.

However, on the way back up 400, we saw an accident. I was not paying super attention to the road because I was trying to keep Dagny awake, so there was a lot of tickling and rolling down of windows going on in our car. And, we were listening to Chapter One of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for the FOURTH time. Each time we start, Annika asks me if we can listen to Chapter Two. I don't know - I think there is some problem with the audio file on my i-pod. We listened to Chapter One again this morning.

As we neared Northridge (I think), I noticed the folks in the lane adjacent to mine swerving over onto the shoulder. "Hm," I thought, "must be something in the road." I took a closer look as we went by and saw a red ladder in the right lane. It was a heavy-duty ladder, not very tall, with curved hooks at the top. I was trying to get another look at it in my rear-view mirror and wondering about whether it was the kind of ladder which should have been attached to a building (like on a fire escape) or if it was a fireman's ladder when I noticed a white Mercedes swerving back and forth in the lane as if shifting from the wheels on one side of the car to the other like trash cans do when you pull them too fast. I don't know if he hit the ladder or if his avoidance of it caused him to lose control. "Wow, I hope he holds it together." It looked like he might have been able to ride it out.

I don't know if he did or not, or even if it was a "he" because suddenly I saw a car behind him swerve out of that lane and spin across all of the lanes of traffic. It was a white Expedition/Suburban and it hit at least one and probably more cars on the way across. Glass and metal flew everywhere as smoke wafted across the road from the skidding tires. Thank goodness nothing was going on in front of me, because I watched it all in the mirror. Should I stop? What could I do? I said a prayer for the people, called 911 and reported the event.

Then I had to call Jen and made her talk to me on the way home until I stopped shaking. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible.
Do you just hit something like that if it is in your lane? I've always learned that you try to avoid it (not that I've had any success with that), but what if an evasive maneuver will be dangerous. What do you do?


Wes said...

That's a tough one Steph. I'm sorry you had a traumatic experience. Most people make those kinds of decisions at the spur of the moment and they have to go on gut instinct. My intuition tells me that most people that avoid/survive that kind of incident are keenly aware of everything that is going on around them. Where they are. Where the other cars are, etc... When we make quick reaction and make a mistake in judgment, bad things happen. And in some cases, we can do all the right things and still have an accident. Hope you feel better soon :-) I think I personally would have run it over before I put other people in danger.

Mike Maier said...

Yikes-- what an awful experience. I have no good advice about road rules, but Wes makes a good point about the importance of awareness... I am not sure there is a hard rule about that. anyway-- loved seeing you last week and hope all is well now

Jarrett Meyer said...

I've never had to dodge an accident like that. I am an incredibly conservative driver, though. I turn off the radio when merging into traffic; I don't talk on the cell phone; I keep a decent following distance. I hope that I don't put myself in to those emergency positions.

Colin said... sounds like you did the right thing. If I have a choice between hitting something or making a potentially dangerous evasive maneuver, I hit the something. I'd rather break my car than myself or someone else. It's just a car.