Jan 26 2010
San Francisco has a lot of cars, trucks and buses, a lot of pedestrians, and a lot of bicycles. This is a recipe for accidents, and San Francisco has a lot of them. You read the article on Pedestrian Safety. There are ways that drivers can be more careful, and there are ways that bicycle riders and pedestrians can be more careful too. The city can also help to “calm” traffic.
Accidents are very scary, and near misses (where you almost have an accident, but don’t) are scary too. I have been in a few accidents in my life, but I have always been lucky and had no physical problems, although I couldn’t say the same thing about my cars. Once, when I was still in college, I was driving my car on the freeway, moving my things from Detroit, where I lived, to Ann Arbor, where I was going to school. I was driving in the left lane and it was raining. I was probably driving too fast for the weather, but it wasn’t my fault when the car in front of me lost its muffler (the part under the car that makes the engine noise quieter, or “muffled”). The muffler fell right in front of my car. Instead of running over it, I swerved (turned the wheel quickly to avoid it) onto the shoulder of the freeway (the part on the side where no one drives, but you can pull over if there is an emergency). That part worked fine, but when I tried to get back on the freeway, I lost control of the car and it went four lanes over to the right side and crashed, stopping on top of the barrier on the right side of the freeway. I was a little dazed, but very lucky, as the damage was just to my car. I had been moving all my belongings to a new apartment, and I still have the same rice cooker I had then, with a dent in the side from the accident. (They don’t make rice cookers like they used to either! Mine is over 42 years old.)
I remember a near miss I had on the same freeway. That time it wasn’t raining, but it was snowing. The traffic was moving slower than normal. Suddenly, a car started to skid and spin (slide and turn). Everyone had to stop. We all put on the brakes, and all the cars started skidding and turning. Finally, they all stopped, facing many different ways. However, not one of the cars hit another car. I felt like all the drivers in those cars experienced the same feeling of relief at the same time. We were all connected at that moment. Then we all slowly straightened the cars and continued to our destinations. It was a very lucky day for all of us.
How about you? Have you ever been in or seen an accident or a near miss? What happened? How did you feel?