The main boulevard in Rome, NY is the victim of a major overhaul thanks to the infrastructure stimulus package voted in by our government. It's been a long summer of detours, driving on grooved roads and carefully entering intersections from side streets so one doesn't lose the oil pans on our cars. Was on my way to a clients shortly after lunch today and for the first time in months, I actually blessed the road construction. I am in no way exaggerating when I say that the conditions at the intersection I was crossing actually saved my life.
The north/south boulevard is normally a two lane in both directions. Due to the road and curb work the number of lanes have been reduced to just one lane on the left side of each direction. As one enters the intersection in front of the closed off right lanes one drops down 3 or 4 inches to grooved surface, so it's best to do this slowly. Because of the reduced speed necessary to negotiate these drops and other obstacles like the manhole covers which are still up at road surface, I have been using stop light intersections as that gives me time to carefully negotiate the mess. I have a Chevy Cavalier, it's oil pan is very available for rupture if I should hit one of those manholes or anything else that might present an uneven surface.
I had the green light, so I entered the intersection carefully and looked to see if I was missing the manhole and the smaller natural gas cover. I was about 5 feet from being into the left lane on that side of the median when something made me look to my left. Bearing down on me was a tractor trailer whose driver showed no sign of stopping. Since I was only doing 10 mph I managed to stop within a couple of feet and sat there watching the truck fly past. I was close enough that the draft from the semi rocked the car a little. If it weren't for the road construction I would have been moving faster and directly in front of that semi when he ran the red light.
I was shocked at that truckers total disregard of the traffic light. I actually looked up to see if I could see what color the light was. Of course, I was too far out, but then I realized that North bound traffic was stopped so my light must still have been green. It wasn't until I arrived at my destination that the enormity of what just occured to me sunk in. There was no way I would have survived the impact. That's an extremely sobering thought.
I've never been a careless driver. Partly because I'd rather not hit anything or anyone. I'd rather not add to the roadkill total, so I always keep a sharp eye out when driving. I discovered today that I do rely too much on others to obey the traffic signals that should keep us all safe at intersections. If I have the green light and nothing is close to the intersection I don't always look far enough down the road to check for oncoming traffic that might not be slowing down. My little adventure today serves as a reminder to do that because in this particular situation the life I save would be my own.
The answer to that question would be MYSELF of course!