On that cold and icy Sunday morning shortly after seven, with visibility limited by fog in a construction area, a driver rear-ended another vehicle who had slowed according to the conditions and the ensuing collision began a chain reaction that looks like the bumper cars on steroids. Imagine yourself on the road to visit family and friends for Christmas and instead finding yourself in the hospital with serious injuries and a totaled car. Luckily, thus far there have been no deaths but a number of people are in serious condition. Not something any of us would wish for Christmas for ourselves or anyone else, is it? You can't drive at excessive speed and tailgate or zigzag your way to grandmother's house without causing huge problems on the roadway, yet whether you are down here in Florida on I-95 or I-75 or back in my boyhood home of the Virginia Peninsula, atrocious driving is so common now that we just shrug it off, saying it's just the way things are these days. But I can assure you that the folks who had trouble even getting off the scene of the carnage in this wreck will hopefully learn from this lesson, for while I am sure they are glad to be alive, they likely won't remember this Christmas as being their merriest one. And certainly many of them arrived in the fog still driving too fast for the lack of visibility which, of course, compounded the action.
It doesn't matter how great a driver you think you are, when you don't adjust things for weather and road conditions and the limitations of human reflexive action, anyone behind the wheel of a two or three ton machine is a potential killer the moment we start the engine if ... we don't apply common sense and good driving skills, including defensive driving, to the task at hand. So, for those of you traveling this Christmas, slow down and enjoy the trip for the misery from being killed or killing someone else, not to mention the property destroyed and the anguish caused, should be enough to change action behind the wheel. If not, and something like this results, the one who caused it likely will live with the horror of what he or she created for the rest of their lives. Enjoy Christmas. Be kind, cautious and smart behind the wheel this Christmas. And I hope you will, like me, pray for the quick recovery for those who are injured and yes, even pray for the one who caused the event to get started. He needs to deal with the consequences but we also need to pray for him to change his ways and also forgive him for what he initiated. And I'll be back tomorrow with my blog about the Williamsburg "Groaning Board" experience. That one was a delicious and very happy time, unlike this one, even if it was a "groaner." Pepto Bismol, anyone?