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Old 06-03-2005, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 697
Ever have a car accident unfold right in front of you?

Today was a rainy day in eastern Pennsylvania, and as I was exiting a highway onto a pretty tight-turning exit ramp, a white Camry passed me on my left and sped onto the off-ramp. Just as I was thinking “He's going way too fast for this ramp”, he locked up his wheels, shot off the ramp, down the embankment, hit a tree, the car went partially up the tree then rolled over and slid furthur down the hill. This took about 2 seconds.

Later I realized that for all the wrecks I've been stuck in traffic behind, this was the first time I had ever seen a bona-fide car accident happen right in front of me. It was pretty damn scary, and got the adrenaline pumping. Anybody else have an accident happen right in front of them? How about one you knew was going to happen?

(btw- the driver was fine)
Old 06-03-2005, 05:26 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Surrounded by books
Posts: 2,530
Last year, I saw the stupidest traffick accident ever. The car in front of me, on a busy three-lane street, tried to turn into a supermarket parking lot from the middle lane. Immediately got T-boned by a car. I'm still wondering what the hell the driver was thinking.
Old 06-03-2005, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Somewhere near Boston
Posts: 9,941
Yeah, I saw a very similar accident on the way home from the beach once. Traffic was pretty much moseying along. A couple of clowns passed rapidly in the left lane, swerved into the right lane going too fast, kept going and rolled the car. Neither of them was hurt, but I certainly didn't agree with the actions of the friendly samaritan who picked up the half empty bottle of liquor and threw it in the woods. (I doubt it helped -- you have to be seriously impaired in some way to pull a bonehead stunt like rolling a car in clear weather in slow moving traffic.)
Old 06-03-2005, 06:01 PM
C3 C3 is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 4,128
Yes. My husband and I were going along a pretty busy, two-lane road during "rush hour." A complete idiot coming toward us tried to pass the guy in front of him. He had very little space and traffic was going pretty fast. He lost control of his truck, it flipped up in the air, end over end. It came down upside down on a little BMW in our lane, then rolled off, ending up on its roof.

It was surreal. It happened so fast. My husband said, "Someone just wrecked!" It didn't even really register with me, and it happened right in front of us. Traffic was stopped for four hours. My husband and another guy, who happened to be an EMT, administered first aid until the ambulances got there. The guy in the BMW was okay - he was actually on the phone calling 911 when my husband ran to him. The guy in the truck died with my husband holding his hand. The eeriest part of it was that the traffic came to a standstill and it was completely silent....except for the country music coming from the radio of the truck.

Unfortunately, my husband witnessed another fatal car accident just a few months ago in Sydney, on his way back from a class he was taking. Someone crossed the center line on a pretty major road and hit another car head-on. It was weird, because the people in the front seat of both cars were fine, but the woman in the back seat of one of the cars had slipped out of her seat belt and under the driver's seat and was very severely injured. She ended up dying in the hospital.
Old 06-03-2005, 06:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Charm City, Hon
Posts: 3,380
Coming up I-95 towards Baltimore, I saw a funny-looking large trailer on a big rig, so I merged right two lanes to get a look at it. Once I figured out what it was (ship's propeller on a trailer!) I merged left again. I was getting ready to merge left again when I noticed a car --

wait, two cars --

driving slowly, no, stopped! --

in the LEFT LANE of I-95, where the drivers were walking around and examining the cosmetic damage to their cars they had incurred in a fender-bender. Not the left shoulder, mind you. Right there in the left lane. I immediately swerved right to make room for anyone in the left lane who couldn't stop in time. I saw a pickup truck next to me go rocketing backwards (from my perspective -- he had panic-braked) with smoke dumping out of his wheel-wells, and I heard a sick bang-bang-bang as he hit the car and caused the front car to go shooting off the stack into the shoulder. The minivan right behind the pickup also plowed into the cars (I don't know if it hit any of the people).

I checked my mirror and saw a dump truck go up on half of its wheels, wobble into the second lane, and thud back onto all fours (eights?) zig-zagging drunkenly trying to regain control. If he hadn't been able to dodge the pileup, nobody in any of those cars would be alive. As it is, I suspect that the people standing around got hit with some scrap metal, and that the driver of the minivan got bloodied up pretty good.

The whole thing happened in less than four seconds, and left an amazing impression on my young mind about the value of following distance and situational awareness. If you read the following lines in a panicked fast auctioneer shout, you'll be close to how it unfolded in my head. It was seriously stunning.

car? cars? oh man those guys

oh my god are they--
dear god
Old 06-03-2005, 06:25 PM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Far from civilization
Posts: 2,123
I saw a wierd one...

I was standing in the yard of a friend's house, which overlooks a valley. The street makes a right turn just after my friend's drive, so that you can see the rest of the street spread out below you. There are a few houses spaced along the street.

A large pickup truck started backing out of the yard across the street from my POV. It was moving pretty fast, and instead of following the driveway it was rolling parallel to it, through the grass. My friend remarked "He's in an awful hurry."

The pickup reached the street, turned, and started down the hill. It followed the street for about 100 feet, then veered off into the lawns on the left side of the road.

Parked in the drive of the 2nd house down the hill was a new car. The owners of the car sometimes let their young kids play in the car. The pickup hit a ditch, bounced, and continued right into that yard.

It struck the car in a perfect T-bone, driving it into the side of the garage door.

My friend ran in to call 911, and I watched the scene. No one got out of either vehicle.

It turns out that the pickup's parking brake failed. Lucky that the kids weren't playing in the car.

So, I saw a traffic accident with no drivers involved!
Old 06-03-2005, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
I once watched a tractor trailer (I think? Maybe it was a bus...) crunch a small car at very low speed. It was like watching a trash compactor in action. The car was stopped for a red light in the right hand lane and the truck driver decided to make a right hand turn from the center lane (where he was stopped). Squished the little car up against a pole - but verrrrrrrYYY yy sloooowwwwlllYYY yy.

I'll never understand how the driver didn't realize what was going on. I could hear the metal compressing from four car lengths back.

Unfortunately, I never found out if the driver of the car was OK, but I can't imagine how he could have been. But I never heard anything on the news. This was about two years ago on Western, somewhere between Lawrence and Foster - right by that little hot dog stand on the east side of the street.
Old 06-03-2005, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 697
Originally Posted by The Mad Hermit
I saw a wierd one...

I was standing in the yard of a friend's house, which overlooks a valley. The street makes a right turn just after my friend's drive, so that you can see the rest of the street spread out below you. There are a few houses spaced along the street.

A large pickup truck started backing out of the yard across the street from my POV. It was moving pretty fast, and instead of following the driveway it was rolling parallel to it, through the grass. My friend remarked "He's in an awful hurry."

The pickup reached the street, turned, and started down the hill. It followed the street for about 100 feet, then veered off into the lawns on the left side of the road.

Parked in the drive of the 2nd house down the hill was a new car. The owners of the car sometimes let their young kids play in the car. The pickup hit a ditch, bounced, and continued right into that yard.

It struck the car in a perfect T-bone, driving it into the side of the garage door.

My friend ran in to call 911, and I watched the scene. No one got out of either vehicle.

It turns out that the pickup's parking brake failed. Lucky that the kids weren't playing in the car.

So, I saw a traffic accident with no drivers involved!

That's F'd up!
Old 06-03-2005, 06:36 PM
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Orlando(ish)
Posts: 21,605
Picture it: Sicily, 1928.

Seriously, I was on my way to my father's. The road was a four line road with that extra lane in the middle for crossing traffic so you can turn into a business on the other side of the road. I'm in the left lane because I'm coming to an intersection where I will have to turn left.

In my rear veiw mirror I see this truck come FLYING down the road. I immediately edge over into the middle turn lane because this guy is going to hit something. Sure enough, he rear ends a small hatchback which is pushed into the grass. He then crosses in front of me, the two lanes heading in the other direction, and smashes into a utility pole.

It happened so fast. I called 911, but by the time I got through (I was on a cell and I guess it had to find a tower) they had already been notified.
Old 06-03-2005, 07:08 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: The Middle of Nowhere, WI
Posts: 10,706
We're driving down a divided four-lane highway, approaching an overpass with on/off ramps on both sides. I forget exactly how it happened, but it went something like this: A car coming down the oncoming on-ramp onto the highway goes off the ramp, crosses the grass onto the highway, and clips an AMBULANCE going in the same direction (toward us). The AMBULANCE starts flip-ping-o-ver-and-o-ver and finally slides to a stop not far in front of us thanks to Mr. S's quick braking. We pull over onto the shoulder, I stay with the car (frozen, I guess -- I'm real great in an emergency), and Mr. S runs over to see if he can help.

Yes, the ambulance had a patient in it -- who had just been in another car accident! One or two of the paramedics were also injured somewhat. I guess everybody was buckled in pretty well, or it could have been a lot worse. Mr. S helped them find oxygen tanks and stuff like that until the helicopter came.

Funny side story: As I'm standing by the side of the road with the car, and the cops are directing the by-now-slow-moving traffic up off the highway, some chick in one of the cars rolling by leans out and says to me, "What happened?" I rolled my eyes and said, "Accident," as the car continued on out of range. Yeah, doofus, like I can give you the whole play-by-play in the two seconds it took you to go by.
Old 06-03-2005, 07:29 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Tejas
Posts: 4,319
My sister and I were passing through a large city. We pulled up into a busy 2 x 2 intersection under a freeway to be the first car at the red light. The cross traffic began to pass in front of us when a white truck zoomed past us on the left (he should have stopped at the red light).

Right in the center of the intersection, the white truck was T-boned by another pick up truck coming from the right. The white truck slid off to the left, then rolled a time or two until it was stopped by a giant light pole. The truck was upside down and steam was coming off of it. Then I saw the driver, upside down, begin to unhook his seat belt and climb out the window as people began to come to his aid.

The light changed, and I drove off through the intersection.

Really, there was lots of help around and we didn't even know the city much less what the names of the streets at the intersection were.
Old 06-03-2005, 07:53 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Auburn, WA
Posts: 6,174
I've seen a couple. The first one was many years ago when a woman drove around the barricades at a train crossing and was promptly clobbered by the train. My friend and I ran to the scene and found 3 scared but unhurt little girls in the back seat. The woman driving the car was in pretty bad shape. And her reason for going around the barricades? They were late getting to a birthday party.

The second was a few years ago. I was stopped at a red light, the 3rd car in the left hand eastbound lane. I was looking at a silver Audi in the right hand lane when WHAM, a white Ford pickup slammed into the back of the Audi. The guy driving the truck didn't even hit his brakes. Luckily he was only going about 20 mph and no one was hurt.
Old 06-03-2005, 09:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: NorCal
Posts: 996
This morning on my way to school, a mother in an Explorer backed into a lawn service-type truck which had a big angle grinder thing trailing behind it. I've also seen a number of fender benders near the high school. Damn kids
Old 06-03-2005, 09:41 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Trenton, NJ
Posts: 4,647
I was jogging down the shoulder on a fairly large divided highway several years ago, facing the oncoming traffic in order to jump out of harm's way if need be.

There was an accident visible about a half mile ahead, and I observed all of the emergency vehicle activity as I calmly plodded ahead in my run.
Suddenly, I was jarred by a loud BAM to my immediate right. A big 'ol beat up white van from the oncoming traffic had simply slammed full speed into a car that was stopped for a left turn, directly by my side -- it was obvious that he had been paying more attention to the accident he had just passed than to the road before him. Though I didn't see this accident happen (I had been looking straight ahead at the other accident), the impact made such a violent noise that I whipped my head around in time to see the car being pushed forward and the van then coming to a complete stop.

One of the cops from the other scene drove up and checked everyone out. He didn't seem really interested in my "ear-witness" testimony, so I moved on. Before I was out of earshot, I heard the van driver whining about something or other to the cop at which point the officer exploded, shouting "I've got a double fatality down the road there and I've had just about enough of your crap, so shut the eff up" or something to that effect.
Old 06-03-2005, 09:58 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Chattanooga
Posts: 14,037
Old 06-03-2005, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Home of SuperBowl XLVI
Posts: 3,704
Originally Posted by Aesiron
Are you referring to your accident? (How are you doing, by the way?)

I was waiting for a bus on the west side of Indianapolis one day on a really busy stretch of a four-lane divided road. There are two stoplights within 200 yards of each other with a highway interchange to the east. I was standing at the stoplight furthest west.

Eastbound traffic is whizzing by me, only to stop at the next light (they're not timed at all). I hear tires screeching, and turn my head to see a white pick-up truck slam into the back of a sedan, which slides into a little hatchback. It seemed to me that the pick-up drive was only focused on the fact that he had a green light, and didn't notice the line of stopped cars filling the intersection. Eveyone was OK, but the antifreeze leaking out of the sedan smelled really bad on a hot sunny morning.

My dad was a witness to a fatal accident years ago when he drove a paint delivery truck. A guy rolled his Jeep on the interstate, and didn't make it.
Old 06-03-2005, 11:12 PM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Suburbs of Detroit, MI
Posts: 9,859
Probably five or six years ago, I was driving along a road near my home, and I stopped for a red light. There were two lanes in each direction, with a center turn lane. I was in the left hand lane, and there was a car in front of me and one next to him.

OK, the light turns green and everyone starts to go. Immediately, the car in front of me slams on his brakes. I hit my brakes to avoid rear-ending him, and no sooner do I do that then an SUV runs the red light on the cross-street, flies past both of us, and hits the car in the other lane. The car was stuck on the front driver's side corner, spun 180 degrees around, and came to rest in the cross-street. The SUV veered off at an angle and ended up in the parking lot of a brake shop on the corner.

I was so shocked that I passed through the intersection without realizing it. Somehow, I avoided hitting the guy in front of me, who pulled over right away. When I regained my senses, I pulled into the parking lot, and went over to help.

The car was totalled, and the driver's foot was crushed. The paramedics had to use those big mechanical jaws to get him out. The people in the SUV seemed to be unharmed, and the SUV appeared to have little damage. Eventually, both myself and the guy in front of me had to go to court to testify that the SUV ran the light.
Old 06-03-2005, 11:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Close to home
Posts: 9,907
Three winters ago, I got stuck driving in a near-whiteout. I tried pulling over and asking, at a house, to use their phone, but the darn farm-woman who lived there wouldn't let me in (a well dressed and obviously scared young woman? Yeah, I definitely looked dangerous). After calculating all the factors, I decided that continuing on the highway was the best option. About ninety minutes later it was still snowing, and the car in front of me--the taillights of which I had been following--veeeeeery slowly began to spin, and veeeery slowly spun off the road and into the ditch.

I kept driving (hell no I ain't hitting the brakes in that weather!) and called 911 when I got home 20 minutes later, but I saw the driver's door start to open before it all disappeared into the whiteness.
Old 06-03-2005, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Chattanooga
Posts: 14,037
Originally Posted by Avarie537
Are you referring to your accident? (How are you doing, by the way?)
I was just being flippant and didn't expect anyone to reply but yes, I was talking about my accident, and today at 4:30 marked the end of my first month back at work.

Thanks for asking.
Old 06-03-2005, 11:23 PM
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Bama
Posts: 10,747
The pickup reached the street, turned, and started down the hill.
And there was no driver in the truck? I wonder how the hell it turned. Weird.

I was on I-40 outside of Asheville, North Carolina a couple years ago. It was raining like all hell, and I saw a small SUV (Honda CRV, I think) swerve in the oncoming lane, bounce off a guard rail, and go flipping ass-over-teakettle all over the interstate. It was surreal. The damn thing wouldn't quit rolling. It must have tumbled 10 or twelve times, disintegrating all the way down to the reinforced passenger cabin, and spreading debris far and wide. I distinctly remember seeing a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke catapult nearly all the way over to our side of I-40. We immediately stopped (along with everyone else) and dialed 911. The passengers were fine. I would have bet money that there was nothing left in there but coarsely chopped meat, but they were fine.

A few years ago, I posted a thread about another I witnessed. Infuriating.
Old 06-03-2005, 11:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Smack Dab in the Middle
Posts: 14,677
Hmm, maybe I'm some sort of accident magnet, because I can think of, lessee here, at least nine that I've witnessed as they happened; six involving one or more cars, two involving motorcycles or ATVs, and one involving a train; the latter one I actually photographed. I've happened on the scene of several others that had happened within 30 seconds of my arrival. Fortunately (and amazingly) no one in any of these was severely injured or killed.

The most lurid road crash I saw (I may have mentioned this one in an older thread) occurred on US 30 westbound near Ligonier, PA late one weekend evening. I had just passed another car when I was overtaken, at high speed and on the wrong side, by some yahoo driving one of those crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas. Just as he got past me, he dropped a wheel onto the shoulder, overcorrected and spun out. The car bounced like a pinball off the guardrails a couple of times, clipped at least one tree, and ended up backwards in the middle of the road, with the driver laying beside it, him having been ejected head first through the driver's side window. I braked to a halt and as I started to get out of the car, I heard more cashing noises. This turned out to be two carloads of buddies of the unfortunate driver, who were so gobsmacked by the spectacle that one rear-ended the other.

I walked up to the the first driver, thinking this guy's gotta be dead'. As I leaned over him, he opened his eyes, looked at me and said 'Oh man, I eff'ed up my car'. He then leapt to his feet, apparently completely unhurt, and walked over to one of his following buddies to ask for a ride to the nearest phone. Amazing.

The one with the train took place at Union Station, Denver, CO, back in the early '80s. I had just photographed the departure of Amtrak's San Francisco Zephyr. At the Denver stop Amtrak had a contract with a local supplier to fuel up the locomotives from a truck driven up alongside the train. After the passenger train left, I watched in horror as the fuel truck driver backed out onto the tracks to turn around, right in front of an approaching Burlington Northern freight, which within a couple of seconds hit the truck, spinning it 90 degrees and punching a huge hole in the tank. Fortunately the freight was going at low speed and no fire ensued. I snapped off a couple of shots as this all occurred and eventually one of them was used as evidence in a court proceeding against the driver.
Old 06-04-2005, 12:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Philadelphia
Posts: 697
Originally Posted by El_Kabong
some yahoo driving one of those crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas.
Crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas?!

Crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas!?

I'm gonna count to ten and let that one pass...

Old 06-04-2005, 10:06 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 441
I've seen two, one minor, one not.

Couple weeks ago coming home from work, a guy in front of me was merging left from a ramp onto the main interstate entrance ramp, this entrance ramp also being the same road as the exit ramp for the previous exit (kinda like a frontage road alongside the interstate). There was a car next to me and slightly behind just exiting, and so was travelling much faster than the merging vehicle. I thought to myself, "Hmm, this isn't good" as the merger got smacked in the back bumper and swerved a bit. Both cars then pulled over, with only bumper damage as I continued on.

The other was a significant interstate accident, it happened a couple years ago. I was driving west out of Omaha toward Hastings/Grand Island, and west of Lincoln there were bad dust storms. The winds were strong, and there would be patches downwind of dry fields where visibility would drop to tens of feet. Outisde of the plumes visibilities were in the 1-2 mile range. Well, all of a sudden in one nasty plume, I saw a semi in the eastbound lanes get shredded by another, the trailer was totally crumpling, with the second semi in back almost at the cab of the first one (trailer was almost gone). The back semi ended up moving into the median as I was driving past. My windshield got sprayed by diesel fuel. I managed to call 911 on a cellphone less than a mile later after I was out of the plume, and the dispatcher mentioned they already knew about it. I found out later that maybe 10-15 vehicles were involved, with at least one death (SUV occupant that got crushed), and eastbound I-80 was shutdown for something like 8-12 hours.
Old 06-04-2005, 11:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Third star to the right,
Posts: 405
Only one, it happened 30 years ago when I was 7 but I still remember it, ... well, I saw the ending of it at least...

My parents and I were in a Winnebago traveling across the country. We were parked alongside the road out in the middle of nowhere (I don't remember were in the country we were), in a hilly forrested area with sharply winding roads. There was a very wide dirt shoulder we were parked on, at least 10 feet from the road.

All of us sitting in the back, at the table having lunch, looking out the rear picture window, suddenly my dad says "Oh shit!". I look up to see a blue van tumbling sideways down the road. On it's back, it's side, it's wheels, it's other side, it's back, etc. Headed right for us.

It came to a rest on it's roof, on the dirt shoulder, only about 15 feet from where we sat, stunned, watching it all happen. ... Well, I was stunned, my mother was stunned, my father was already up and moving. He was outside with a fire extinguisher the instant he knew the van wasn't going to hit us.

Before he could reach the van, the driver had already kicked out the shattered, but intact windshield and had climbed out. He was bruised and scraped but OK.

He'd been coming around the corner a bit too fast when his front tire blew, causing him to loose control, twisting the nose, and throwing it into a tumble. My father saw the whole thing happen while my mother and I only caught the end of the action.
Old 06-04-2005, 11:18 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Total Perspective Vortex
Posts: 1,098
Originally Posted by sleeepy2
Crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas?!

Crappy '70s-era Chevy Novas!?

I'm gonna count to ten and let that one pass...


I won't.

...Ah, they're 1970's style "death cars".
Old 06-04-2005, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 5,353
yes, but I didn't see it. I was driving to church and had stopped at a red light. I was waiting for the light to change so that I could turn left. It was a slightly rainy day. You know, one of those days where you grab an umbrella or a jacket but it isn't really worth it to open it up or wear it. An SUV came around the corner from the left and aparently rolled. My dad, sitting next to me and not watching the light, because he was the passenger, was startled by the fact that the SUV rolled. It seemed to him that it had been going too fast- but not so much too fast that it should have rolled.

The light changed, we went on to church.
Old 06-04-2005, 11:53 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 47,806
I was on the bus going down the highway, rang for the next stop and went to the front of it. Just as I got there and said "Next Stop," a car going too fast went onto the exit ramp, off the ramp, across the grass and hit a tree, which fell onto an electrical wire. The sky lit up like the 4th of July. The bus pulls over and stops and the driver tells me to stay on the bus (like I was going anywhere). The driver gets out of the car and starts walking away. The poll hold the wire suddenly splits in two, the live wire making more fireworks and an explosive sound. The driver starts going back to the car, but a guy takes her arm and drags her off.

It was very scarey.
Old 06-04-2005, 11:57 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Not so North
Posts: 11,014
Yes. My sister and I were driving from our new home to our old hometown, and watched a Jeep flip and bounce about 300 feet from the road. We parked and ran out to the person who had been thrown from the vehicle, and stayed with him while the next passersby contacted the ambulance service. It turned out to be someone we knew, who was charged with impaired driving (criminal code conviction in Canada [felony]). Neither my sister nor I smelled alcohol on him at the time, and we both testified to that effect. The other people at the scene also testified that they smelled/saw no alcohol. He turned out just fine, only minor scratches although the dumbass wasn't wearing a seat belt. He was found not guilty.
Old 06-04-2005, 06:38 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 16,451
One time on the 405 Freeway I saw an rear ender up ahead in the fast lane. A Toyota hit a VW bug. The two cars in question pulled onto the center divider. My buddy and I stop to see if anyone is hurt. The VW has a fuel leak, and the driver is trying to light a smoke. I had to take his lighter away from him.
Anyway, a CHP motor officer shows up and I am telling him to call for a fire unit because of a fuel leak when a car stops in the fast lane to looky loo the accident. The guy behind him does not stop and there is a rear end collision about three fee from where I am standing. Accidents are very loud.
Old 06-05-2005, 04:13 AM
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: California, temporarily.
Posts: 11,610
When I was a senior in high school, my mom and I went down to Santa Cruz to look at the university. Driving home on Highway 17 (Wikipedia on 17: "Highway 17 carries substantial commuter and vacation traffic between San Jose and Santa Cruz. Its combination of narrow shoulders, dense and high-speed traffic, sharp turns, and sudden changes in traffic speeds makes it one of the most dangerous highways in California.") we drove for quite a ways behind several guys in a Jeep. They had surfboards in the back, and I was kind of imagining what their day had been like, that they lived in San Jose and had gotten up early to get down to Santa Cruz to catch the best know, like you might wonder about someone you're driving by for a length of time. Anyway, at one point the driver appeared to be going a little too close to the cement barrier separating the directions, and he overcorrected, driving up the side of the mountain. The Jeep came rolling back down onto the freeway in a cloud of dirt just as my mom and I zipped past them. We'd been close behind them and our speed was such that we couldn't have stopped. We were the only car to get past though. This was before cell phones were terribly common, and we didn't have one, so we drove to the next call box and stopped to tell the CHP, but apparently someone had already called 911 because they already knew about it.

Very scary. And when I ended up going to school in Santa Cruz, my mom refused to ever drive down there again. Every time I had to come home for a vacation, my dad drove down to pick me up. She flatly refused to ever drive on Highway 17 ever again.

A couple months ago I witnessed a slightly more amusing accident. A bus came to a stop at a bus stop, and the car behind it (Car A) slammed on the brakes. The car behind that one (Car B) smashed into Car A. Car C managed to avoid smashing into Car B, but Car D, of course, smashed into Car C. Two rather minor fender benders inside of about two seconds.
Old 06-05-2005, 10:18 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Western New York
Posts: 77,333
We were once talking at work about car accidents and I casually mentioned I had been in several. When pressed, I counted them up and came up with eleven I considered serious (as in I wasn't able to drive away without assistance). (And, no, none of these crashs involved alcohol - I'm apparently just a very bad or very unlucky driver.) Remarkably, I was never injured in any of these accidents. The good things that have come from this is that I always wear seatbelts and I've acquired a zen-like calm that envelopes me during a crash. The bad things are horrendous insurance rates and jokes about being ahuman crash-test dummy.

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