We have just had our Labour Day long weekend which means a huge increase in traffic past our home. Often we come home from being away ourselves and see glass sprinkles on the intersection out front and know there has been a bingle while gone. We are usually left to wonder what happened, it anyone was hurt, etc. Sometimes the local paper will assuage our curiosity. (Okay, according to definitions, assuage might be too strong a word, but hey, who cares! And I have just discovered I have been spelling curiosity wrong for a long time, since school, I suppose. Though, with my memory, it could be I only think I have, because I spelled it wrong this time.)
Last Sunday morning, doing our usual, lying in bed with Mr R. drinking coffee and watching recorded music videos from Rage (it is hard not to say music tapes) and I am drinking coffee and reading Terry Goodkind. I hear a loud thump. I turn to Mr R. and ask “Did you hear that?” This, in itself, is a marvel, as I am quite deaf. My first thought was that the elm tree limb had finally fallen.
“A screech?” he asks.
“No, a thud.” And I immediately leap out of bed and race to the lounge window. Sure enough, a van is lying on its side, with a 4-wheel drive snuggled against it. The bull-bar has probably distributed the impact, the lower edge of the van behind the driver’s seat bears the imprint. People are already pulled over and running to help, mobile phones out, so there was really nothing we needed to do. In the old days we would have had to phone for help.
A fellow peered in the shattered back window of the van, went in, and came out with a little girl. Then I notice a woman carrying a baby, and another little girl and I wonder if they came out the sun-roof. It is hard to guess if one of the men is her partner. Later, I work out the occupants of the 4 wheel drive, an older couple; their vehicle has a bit of a crumpled area to the right side of the bull-bar.
Without the local paper to tell us what happened, we guess that the driver of the van shot out from the side road, in front of the other, misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic. Mr R. said it would not take much of a nudge to make it fall over.
Before long, people were out directing traffic into the service road on our side, the road was clear in the other lane. The drivers were exchanging names and addresses. The police turned up eventually, followed by the ambulance and the fire brigade and two tow trucks (not necessarily in that order). Mrs W, from next door, came out and I could guess she was offering her home as refuge to the mother of the children. A lovely girl, my neighbour, it would be what she would do.
In the old days, broken glass and debris would be swept up. What happened to littering? It is still all out there, the glass sprinkles and shattered plastic. The policeman started to sweep it off the road until a firewoman came along and started on it with the firehose, washing it it to the verge.
I feel for those poor little girls, who seemed unhurt, probably only shook up. Aged about 2-5 years, imagine how they will feel getting in a car again. The fear will be with them for some time.
So, as I said, some serious rubber-necking took place, from our lounge room window. I did not lower myself by taking a photograph for my blog, though tempted.
Within the hour, except for the debris and a puddle on the road, you wouldn’t know anything had happened. It could have been so tragic. All it takes is a bit of inattention, or impatience, and lives are lost.
Please take care on the road.