Thinking Out Loud

July 3, 2017

Car Accidents Happen Fast

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:33 am

I had this picture in my files and figured it served us better than a scene from a horrific traffic accident or the type of highway rollover I witnessed.

On Friday evening I was driving home on the freeway when the car ahead of me wandered off the road and then totally lost control on some soft gravel. It took out one of the supports for a large highway sign and then flipped over sideways landing upside-down.

I pulled over and pulled out my phone to call 9-1-1. Although I was relatively calm, I couldn’t really see what I was doing. The sun was shining in my car obscuring the screen and I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses. I think it took me nearly two minutes to fish out my glasses and get my password entered properly, and find the keypad to dial a number not in my contact list. (Isn’t there an emergency shortcut for 9-1-1 on these things?)

Meanwhile other people had stopped and were running into the ditch to check on the condition of the driver. I considered the possibility he had been killed instantly — he survived — and felt I was of greater use providing information to the police dispatcher.

It turned out there were three people in the car, the driver was pulled out and then walked away from the car but the two others were badly winded. I assume the ambulance paramedics would have them checked out for internal bleeding or other such injuries.

It was like a scene from a movie. 24 hours later, I am surprised that I remained so calm, apart from the minutes of fumbling with my phone. Here are a few reflections.

The thing I did right: I followed this guy for a few miles at a bit of a distance because his right turn signal was on continuously. I’ve always figured that this is a sign that a driver is not entirely focused. For that insight, I am thankful to God.

The thing I did wrong: I should have pulled off more onto the shoulder of the road. I was very careful getting in and out of my car, but if you look at police vehicles in those situations, they pull well over.

What the driver did wrong: The guy tried to jerk his car back onto the road too suddenly. Once he hit the soft gravel he should have braked — I never did see brake lights — and then followed the shoulder until he could get back on the road safely. This was the Friday of a long weekend here, so I don’t know if drugs or alcohol were a factor. Or a cell phone.

What the driver did right: I’m going to assume he had to have been wearing a seat-belt to not have not been thrown from the car.

What I learned: These things can happen in a second. Or less. The cliché is true: Driving is a full time job. A driver needs to stay focused. If one is tired, it’s time for a rest stop. 

Again, Thank you, Lord for your protection.




  1. Good job and reaction to this . . I too would haven taken minutets just to get my reading glasses and cellphone ready to make the call as I don’t drive with either in my sight. Things do happen so fast and its best to stay calm. I think making mental notes on how you handled the sistuation is a great ideas and prepares you for if it happens again. Glad you are safe! ~ Blessings ~

    Comment by Deborah Ann — July 3, 2017 @ 10:54 am

    • Thanks, Deborah Ann. As it turns out, there are emergency shortcuts on most phones that bypass the need to provide the password. Who knew?

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 3, 2017 @ 11:03 am

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