Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I spied with my little eye----

I saw something which disturbed me this bright warm spring morning. I witnessed a bus full of kids, and on the console next to the bus driver was a crocheted covered coffee can full of pens and pencils. I don’t blame the bus driver for this- she is probably just trying to be a great driver by having a supply of writing implements for those kids who forgot theirs. Most likely she never thought about what might happen to these missiles if she was to get into an accident.


In the course of my day I see all sorts of people exiting their cars full of junk. Candy wrappers, soda cans, Snapple bottles- well you get the idea. I’ll bet no one even thinks of what kind of destruction these pieces of trash can do in an accident- and you could be the most careful driver out there, but someone else could hit you and you could die in a stupid trash-missile accident.


About 20 years ago, up near Schenectady New York, I witnessed a truck run off the road in the middle of the night. I stopped to help. The truck was rolled on its side, and when I saw the driver I thought he lost an eye- it was that gross. But in reality, he just cut himself above the eye, ad the blood was running down his face. He was hit by his trucker’s briefcase- the thing he put his wallet in, shipping papers, log book, etc. He was hit with the thing because it was loose inside his truck’s cab, and when he rolled over, he got hit with the loose object. Luckily, there was an ER nurse who also witnessed the crash and stopped to help, and I overheard her telling the police officer that responded that if the briefcase hit him a quarter if an inch closer to his eye socket he would have broken his skull and his eye would have been expelled from its socket. I get queasy just thinking about this.

Another time I stopped to help out at an accident in northern Massachusetts, right on the Vermont border. It had rained (in February!) and just before I arrived in that area the road was solid ice. While assisting at the first accident, a young woman, 25ish, hit a patch of ice and flipped her car three times and rolled it three times. When my driving partner and I got to her demolished car, she was still in the driver’s seat, appeared to be unharmed (yeah for the safety of Mercedes!) as far as we could see with the car on its side. But after trying to get her out, we noticed she was dazed and incoherent, more than should be, looking at her condition. Again, we had professional help, a paramedic arrived at the scene for the first accident and witnessed this girl’s ‘stunt’ driving, and he noticed her purse. I picked it up off her head, and the thing must have weighed 30 pounds- she had everything in there, and the paramedic deduced that her purse hit her squarely in the temple. She could not move any of her limbs, and to this day I wonder if she recovered. I can’t help believe if her purse didn’t hit her in the head, she might have just got out and walked away from that accident.

I read somewhere (No I can’t produce the link-sorry) that something like 10% of fatal accidents could be avoided because it wasn’t the impact that killed the car’s occupants, it was the junk they had laying around in the car that brought about their demise.

So- I hope you see my point. Does YOUR car have implements of possible destruction on the floor? I REFUSE to let my passengers drink out of a glass container while we are driving. Imagine that a full 16 oz glass bottle could do if left in a cup holder and you are hit on the side. We forced the car manufacturers into providing us with all these cup holders, but have you ever thought what might happen to that steaming hot cup of coffee if you are hit from the side by an errant driver?

So keep your modes of transportation neat and free from debris. Look for stuff that can loosen in an accident and cause you or your passengers harm. I’d hate to lose anyone reading this in a freak accident involving a newly bought spatula, a bottle of mango juice, a Webster’s Thesaurus, and a hot mocha latte!
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