This week I’ve witnessed three car accidents happen in front of me, and have nearly been involved each time, but Friday’s incident was the most bizarre. I’ve also seen the aftermath of an even higher number of accidents this week. Many in different parts of the US, I know, can say the same thing.
Before I share what happened Friday, I should mention that in recent months I’ve been out on the road more than the average person. Since my wife and I moved to Bowling Green, Ohio last August I’ve been driving a shuttle van/Honda CRV (and occasionally dispatching) for a taxi company here. Aside from transporting college students and others in town, I also transport people to and from:
1. the Detroit airport (75 miles to the north)
2. the Toledo airport (30 miles to the north)
3. the Greyhound bus station in Toledo
4. the Megabus station in Toledo
5. the Amtrak station in Toledo
6. the Greyhound bus station in Findlay (25 miles to the south)
7. medical appointments to determine eligibility for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare); the taxi company I drive for is contracted to do this, and it involves waiting for the duration of each appointment before taking the passenger back home; this takes me to Toledo, Findlay, Lima, etc. in NW Ohio
8. and more.
I would estimate that at least 20% of my passengers in Bowling Green are from Saudi Arabia, and I’ve enjoyed learning Arabic words and phrases from them, learning about their culture, and building some neat relationships.
I also tutor on the side through Wyzant, mostly in the areas of ESL (English as a Second Language) and proofreading/editing, and that work also sometimes involves traveling to Toledo, Findlay, etc.
Friday’s Strange Mishap
Friday morning at around 10:00 I was on my way to pick up a passenger who had finished his night shift at an industrial plant. A lady driving a minivan toward me caught my eye because she was sitting in the passenger seat and leaning way over to the side to grip the steering wheel. Even though the road was dry, she lost control, swerved both ways, and then rammed into a snow bank as I was about to pass her.
I immediately stopped, but before I could do anything she got out of the passenger side, ran around to the driver’s side, managed to reverse the van, and promptly drove away. I could see that no one else was in the van. I don’t know how she was pressing the gas and brake pedals, but later I humored myself by imagining she was using a toilet plunger.
Someone who heard the story suggested that she could have been a rural mail carrier, as they sometimes use their own vehicles which are altered in such a way that they can drive via the passenger seat and easily reach into mailboxes. (If anyone reading this post knows how that works, I’d be interested to learn more about it.) However, this incident occurred within Bowling Green’s corporation limit, her van was unmarked, and she was leaning over very awkwardly as she drove. I’m inclined to think she was drunk, but I could be wrong.
I’m glad her final swerve took her into the snow bank, or we could have collided head-on.
Monday’s Near Misses
The roads were especially treacherous in Bowling Green on Monday, after Sunday’s snowfall, and with no salt on the roads. I experienced numerous “near misses” as drivers had a hard time stopping at intersections, but an accident took place in front of me twice.
In the first incident, I passed over Interstate 75 on a two-lane road, and as I drove down the hill I saw that a car had stopped at a stop sign a little further up and to the right. (There was no stop sign coming up for me.) Then I saw another car come up behind the first one – too fast – and he slid sideways and rear-ended her hard enough to push her into my path. By the grace of God, I was able to swerve to my left and make it around her. They were both OK.
In the second incident, I was stopping at a four-way stop when an SUV approaching from the side slammed head-on into an electric pole just before the intersection. The collision nearly took down the pole, and the wires flopped up and down violently for a few seconds. Because of his speed, my guess is that he didn’t notice until the last second that he had a stop sign ahead of him. He got out a minute later, dazed, but apparently OK, and emergency vehicles were soon there.
These incidents and others were more than enough “excitement” for one week, but I’m grateful for God’s protection in each case.