Have you ever been in a position where you could see an accident developing and were powerless to prevent it? Last Wednesday evening just fifteen minutes prior to sunset I had such an experience on I-64 just west of Charlottesville Virginia.
With a bridge just west of Charlottesville under reconstruction for over twenty miles there were warning signs notifying of the work and that the maximum width of a vehicle was 13 ft. About a third of a mile short of the bridge traffic had come to crawl (10 to 15 mph) and moved into the right lane. No vehicles were in the left. Two vehicles in front of me a man in a white car decided to use the emergency connection to turn around and head back to Charlottesville.
Just before the man in the white started to pull out, I noticed a blue car coming up at a high clip. Though he pulled into a gap about four cars behind me, the red SUV who was flying along behind him did not slow down or queue into the line on the right. The guy driving the SUV was going at least at speed, which would be 65 mph, possibly higher.
The moment I saw the white car pulling out I saw what was inevitable. The SUV “T”ed the white car just behind the driver’s door and pushed the car around another 45 degrees. The SUV crawled off to the right shoulder. After a moment, the white car slowly dropped into the hallow beyond the left shoulder. Fortunately, the driver and passenger of the SUV were fine (deployed airbags and size the vehicle helped). I along with two other drivers got out of our cars to see if the guy in the car was okay. He was stunned, badly shaken but said he was fine.
Though both driver’s of the vehicles were at fault, the driver of the SUV claimed to be the innocent victim. The SUV driver failed to recognized that he was coming into a construction zone at an unsafe speed. He failed to realize that his impatience and rude aggressive driving contributed significantly to the accident.
What is a shame is that though SUV driver was going to be charged, he felt that witnesses were unduly faulting him. He had the right of way so he did nothing wrong. Hopefully in the privacy of his own mind he knows the error, for if not, his aggressive driving will again put the safety of others at risk.