Stuck In Traffic
This is absolutely horrifying. Granted, the "disturbing" video isn't really all that graphic, but it does show that descriptions of a "massive
fireball" were not overblown. Victims trapped in vehicles anywhere near that would have suffered terribly.
At the risk of too lengthy a personal digression, I had a brush with a similar situation a very long time ago. I was driving north on Interstate 5
through the San Joaquin Valley in California (U.S.) during the Thanksgiving holidays.
The weather was very turbulent that day, with high sustained crosswinds and punishing gusts out of the west. Despite that, quite a few farmers were
out plowing their dry fields, which resulted in massive dust clouds blowing across the highway that would intermittently and suddenly plunge you into
dust so thick you could barely see past the hood of your car.
The clouds were thick, but you could pass through them quickly, and this was out in a rather remote area with few offramps or alternative routes that
weren't themselves plagued by the same problems.
As I continued driving, with the goal of reaching Sacramento that evening, the dust clouds became more frequent and wider. I was faced with continuing
almost blindly and risk running into someone ahead, slowing down (which I did) and keeping a diagonal eye out to the sides to see the lines of the
road, or stopping and risk being rear-ended by someone, potentially at fifty, sixty or seventy miles per hour, whether I was on the shoulder or
It's not a good place to be, especially when you're out in the middle of nowhere without even a way off the road other than driving off the pavement,
down a steep bank and into a ditch. Although I really wanted to make it to Sacramento in time for dinner with my relatives, the situation became so
intolerable that I finally pulled off the interstate when I had a chance.
As it turned out, the exit I took was the last exit before this:
14 Killed, 114 Hurt in I-5 Pileups : Traffic: More than 100 vehicles collide in
dust storm north of Coalinga. Victims describe 'all kinds of terrible scenes--trucks on fire, cars on fire, bodies in the road.'
It was one of the worst traffic disasters in U.S. history, I was headed right for it, and it was taking place literally as I decided to get off the
road. I heard about it on the radio after I pulled off. If I would have not taken that exit, there's a very good chance I would not be able to share
this story with you now.
I know there are plenty of "idiot drivers" out there, and God knows, it only takes one. But that's my point.
It's easy enough to sit in our chairs and, without the benefit of actually knowing what happened, criticize others, point fingers and perhaps ridicule
them. But in cases like these, actually being there is a much different story, and I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy (if I had one) what I went
through just trying to make my way to a safe place in a very dangerous, potentially deadly situation that I had never encountered before and never
I don't know the details of this particular incident in Somerset, other than that it was utterly horrific and fatal for many people, but I'll wager
that most of the victims were doing nothing more than just trying to get home.
I cannot bring myself to berate or judge them for that. I can only empathize with their situation and grieve for their terrible losses.
As for everyone else, when considering cases like these, I urge that their conscience be their guide, and pray it guides them well.
edit on 11/5/2011 by Majic because: (no reason given)