Posted by: joha5 | May 18, 2010

Accidentally Idiotic: Two Car Crashes in 10 Minutes

It has been an extremely rainy and unpleasant week here in Washington, D.C.  It has been unseasonably cool and grey and it has totally destroyed my motivation to do much of anything.  I feel okay about this as I am usually pretty diligent with my work and networking so having a few slow days in a row never really hurt anybody.  Apparently, I am not the only one who has been having a few off days because as I was driving to work yesterday I saw two car accidents.  Major car accidents. 

It is rare that I ever see one in the first place but the fact that it takes me just over 10 minutes to travel to work and I saw two accidents was quite shocking.  I don’t know what it is about accidents that really grabs people’s attention – the carnage, the infrequency of seeing one, the lights and sirens of police and firetrucks, the way it catalyzes your imagination to imagine what exactly happened at the scene of the accident – but no matter how much I try not to stare, I am never successful.  My curiosity always gets the best of me no matter what.

The first accident was less than a mile from my house and involved two cars – one of which had already been removed from the scene.  It happened at a juncture where a car should have yielded to the traffic coming in the same direction.  This idiot apparently didn’t know how to follow the rules of the road and smashed into another car totalling both in the process.  One of the cars had been removed but the one that was there was in awful shape.  The front end and passenger’s side looked like it had imploded, the air bags had deployed and an ambulance was on the scene.  It was incredibly disturbing to see because I imagined that it could have been me in the vehicle driving along minding my own business and listening to some terrible radio station on the way back from work.  I imagined the explosion of glass and metal, the jarring feeling of my body being restrained by my seatbelt, and the carnage of the wreckage afterwards.  Depending on the severity of the crash, that person’s life could have changed in an instant due to somebody neglecting to follow the rules of the road.  It just reminded me of the fragility of life and how things can change in the blink of an eye even if you are doing everything your own thing and minding your own business.

This is Very Similar to the First Accident I Saw

The second wreck was more entertaining than disturbing because it involved a single person, there was no signs of any injury, and the aftermath was incredible to see.  Not two minutes from the school that I work at a cab had seemingly hit an oily patch that had developed during the rain storm that had ensued in the hour before.  I couldn’t quite make out how the accident happened or what the cause of it was but a taxi driver had seemingly spun out of control and slammed into a brick wall on a bridge over the George Washington Parkway.  When I passed by the scene the entire wall had collapsed and the car was teetering like a see-saw over the parkway.  The car was in surprisingly good shape and the man was standing on the scene obviously trying to explain to the cops about what exactly caused him to get into such an absurd predicament. 

Not Quite What I Saw...But Close Enough.

 Seeing an accident is never nice and nor is it ever funny.  It just serves as a reminder of how fast things can happen and how devastating it would be if I were involved in such a bad one.  The fact that two happened on the short route to and from work yesterday at almost simultaneous times was a total fluke that I will probably never see again.  To be honest, I would rather not have to see one again.  But when I do, you can be sure that I will be rubbernecking with the rest of them.



  1. When I was in high school I rear ended a shipping truck, crunched the front end of my VW bug, and then watched as the fire that started when the back of the truck collided with my engine burn for over an hour. It’s not a great feeling to know that there really isn’t time to stop.

    • Jesus Christ! That is pretty serious! I once slid off the road and hit a mud bank which saved my car from plunging into a stream 15 feet below. I was so shocked that I thought I could keep driving the car even though the wheels were flat, the axel had been destroyed, and a horrible crunching sound was made as I drove at 3 miles per hour. Needless to say, it did not last very long before I realized I was being an idiot.

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