Recently, there were two accidents in proximity on westbound 152 at El Toro Road. This is easily described as “near the bottom of the hill.” This resulted in a total of a 9-car pile-up. Despite the high rate of speed, there were only a few, let’s call them minor injuries. For this, I offer my best to those injured.
If you do not commute, the perspective is this is a reason not to commute. If you commute, there are varying perspectives, starting with a few expletives in judgment of the drivers. The second is all about “you” and how this event affected your world. The third perspective comes from a place of calm and the experience of a professional commuter. These things happen with greater frequency, therefore, there is a professional protocol in place for the third commuter’s point of view.
Let’s begin to unfold this scenario through the eyes of a professional commuter. First, check your CARR app, known as the California Road Report, for details and updates. Second, check the WAZE app for general estimated arrival times. Arrival times may vary based on several factors. In my experience, overall, I tend to arrive earlier than the WAZE ETA because cleanups happen in real time. I notify the office of my ETA, pat myself on the back for fueling in Los Banos, and proceed with a stress-free mindset. Remember, no one can change what’s bigger than self.
Now, let’s look at “the why” the accident occurred, and what a commuter can do for self-preservation. Travel speeds are 75 to 85 on average. The reckless, late, and fast/furious drivers are going to dart in and out of this high-speed progression like a game of checkers. Remember, most drivers do not adhere to the “safe driving distance” stance. All it takes is one slight miscalculation, or a frightened driver by the approaching car getting super close and boom, a slight tap of the brakes, and there is a bumper-car situation.
A fatality is rare in these situations; however, it does occur. Common injuries are back issues due to rear impact. By some small grace, physics plays the biggest role by reducing the energy of each automobile in close quarters, dispersing the overall impact.
The solution? There currently is no solution. No safety entity, or mindset to mitigate the issue exists. Yes, law enforcement can be present to reduce speed. But as explained, speed is a problem, but reduced speed is just that. The issue starts at what is no longer taught. Basic respect, and safe distance driving is huge. In short, safe driving distances increase reaction times for “out-routes” in an emergency road situation. This practice is not enforced. Trust me, I see it daily with law enforcement within “the pack.”
Finally, I offer an important tip. Hazard lights have not been “a thing” for a while. If you’re driving and come upon a sketchy situation before you, hazards will save your backside and that of others. Also, don’t assume that blind curve is clear.
Be well, my friends.