The Sadness Of Traffic Fatalities

Did you know that nearly 1.3 million people die in road crashes each year (3,287 a day) internationally.In the U.S., 37,000 people a year die, or just over 100 people a day. This pretty much say that around ~100 people a day will start their day and this will be the last time their family will see their loved one. That's 100 people a day that will leave home, never to return to the sanctuary that is their family.


I think about this because I have a 100-mile round trip drive every day to get to work on a medium (two-lanes, one way) twist and turning highway.  A highway, that by it's nature, tends to highlight most drivers inability to drive under their skill set. A highway that amplifies drivers short-comings because they think they can drive fast because they think they're good drivers.

Driving straight, really fast, is not a skill. It's a test of boredom. And when some of these folks tend to act like they have to get to work faster than everyone else, that's when the sadness happens, and stupid people, with no talent behind the wheel, cause themselves or others harm.

And this lack of ability... the skill to be able to counter steer WHEN you need to, or spot a problem in front of you, or know that you need to give more room to the car they're passing before pulling over in front of them, is what most don't consider, and then we end up with fatalities on the road.

It's because someone did not think of others that these ~100 people a day did not know that their morning will be their last. That this would be their last drive into work, their last day of breathing the air, seeing the sky, or working at ignoring the miserable and boring commute environment one last time.

They did not know that either by their own hand or someone else's, they will get caught up in a situation that there is no exit from and suddenly their family and friends will no longer have them in their lives. They will be leaving their loved ones behind.

The sadness comes from those who do this to themselves, not giving one thought to how their friends and family will be able to handle life when they're gone. Or that they must be in some kind of ego-fed rush to race the traffic, to get there faster than anyone else. And yes, sometimes, that very haste is what will keep them from getting to their destination.

A few years ago in Menlo Park, CA, peers of mine watched a woman race a commuter train to the crossing so she can get somewhere faster. She was in a hurry. Now her husband and three children are left to struggle through the rest of their lives without her.

In a different scenario, a lone man on a Saturday night, drove off the side of the Pacheco Pass (The 152) and into the San Luis Reservoir to die in the crash. The only mark that he left behind in this world are the skid marks he left, veering diagonally across traffic lanes, off the road and into the lake.

It's this visual reminder that I see every single day coming home, that prompted me to write this piece. I cross these skidmarks, this marker of his passing, every night coming home from work, and I think of him, remembering him. Wondering what happened? Was he drunk, driving too fast, or was he forced to over-react and by no fault of his own, end his time on this Earth.

All of these things makes one think about how fleeting life can be, how fickle fate can be when a loved ones are ripped from our lives. All of this just underlies how precious even the smallest of details of life can be.

It also underlines how there are some pretty stupid or just ignorant people out there continuously driving over their skill set limits or driving situation, putting everyone around them in danger.

Those skid marks on the 152 are this one man's memorial.

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