Yesterday, I had the minor misfortune of witnessing a serious accident from far too close. A pickup, traveling very fast on a crowded highway, cut off the car in the adjacent lane, started rolling to one side, swerved back the other way, and flipped; he rolled twice before stopping sideways 20 feet from the road. I was the driver he cut off.
I say “minor” because I wasn’t in the truck; wasn’t harmed; saw what he was going to do, and the load of unsecured pipe and metal in the truck bed, and had slowed down enough to avoid the debris.
Somehow no one else was hit, and there was no pileup. The adults and small children in the car walked away from the crash, bloodied but surprisingly OK. (The wonderful thing about car seats and seat belts - they work even when you’re too young to appreciate them)
I’ll refrain from comment on the driver’s behavior before and afterwards. I’m immensely glad the kids are OK.
I pulled over immediately, and ran back to the truck. By the time I got there, several other drivers had already reached them and were helping everyone out of the truck.
Within two minutes, random passerby were already calming the children, pressing clothing to their cuts, because of course you’d do that.
A man stopped and brought water bottles from his trunk, for the kids, because it’s hot and shadeless and of course he would.
We all confirmed that one woman had called 911, and got out of her way as she checked the kids out per their instructions, because of course she would.
The rest of us decided at the same time to clear the worst of the shattered pipe, rebar, and sheet metal from the road. It needed to happen, we were there, so of course we did.
A nurse came running down the grass, from however far back she’d stopped. Because of course.
Fire Rescue, Sheriffs and Troopers arrived within 5 minutes, and we all gave our versions of events. Except for one man who couldn’t stick around, but left me his name and number to pass along. Of course.
Once we’d done that, and the professional and responsible folks had things in hand, we all got out of the way and left without further discussion.
Because we hadn’t done anything special; we were just the closest of many decent people in the area at that moment. That’s what choked me up, driving on afterwards - it was all so matter-of-fact. The awful exceptions make the news, and make better stories, but most people? When they see they can be of use?