Summer highway traffic inferno

Is it the heat that makes drivers go crazy on our highways?

I remember many a snowy day in Cranbrook, when the staff at the Townsman worried about me as I left at the end of the day for Kimberley.

I received tense phone calls and voicemails from my parents if I didn’t arrive exactly on time, but sure enough my tiny Toyota plowed through the white stuff every time.

The truth is, I worry more about my safety in the summer months. This week alone I have witnessed and almost been involved in two serious collisions that probably could have ended in a fatality – the second one would have been me.

I’ll start with that one. I went out for an interview and was returning via the Strip. I turned my right blinker on to pull into the Townsman and slowed down. Something in my rear-view mirror suddenly caught my eye.

I did a double take, and realized a giant, lifted black Ford truck was barreling towards me with no indication of braking, or even that they noticed the little black car they were about to smoosh like a candy wrapper. It must have been doubling the 60 km/hr speed limit. It kept coming, it was mere feet off my bumper, and like the mature adult I am, with no way to save myself, I covered my ears with my hands and screamed.

With wide eyes I watched the expected collision not happen. The black truck veered into the left lane, without signaling or even shoulder checking. They cut off a red truck that with a camper so badly that the driver had to swerve into the centre lane to avoid being side swiped.

The whole time, I saw not a glimmer of brake lights from the black truck. I realized once it was all over that my car was completely stopped in the middle of the Strip. Luckily there was no other traffic behind me.

I thought to myself that the driver of the black truck will never know how terrified I was in those few seconds. He wouldn’t know that I shook for an hour after he nearly killed me. I thought about how he probably would have sheered off the top of my tiny car like a monster truck. I possibly could have been tossed like a Frisbee into the Townsman sign, only to crumple against it in a heap like old laundry. Had I been able to think in those seconds, I would have written down his license plate and called the RCMP.

The first accident I witnessed this week was a comedy of errors from two drivers. I was leaving Marysville on my way to work. Rails to Trails was closed for maintenance, and a number of drivers were pulling in only to discover it was closed. Many were waiting to pull out on the highway, but one car just had to turn right away. Myself and two other cars were rounding the corner going under the speed limit (which is a problem on that highway in itself, but I won’t go there).

The car turned left with barely enough room to spare, and at the same moment, the driver in front of me decided he couldn’t wait to start going the speed limit. He pulled out to pass the car in front and I was positive I was about to see a brutal head-on collision.

The passing driver slammed on his brakes, and threw his car back into the lane in front of me – again with just feet to spare. I also slammed on my brakes in the same instant, hoping to avoid the spray of metallic shrapnel I thought was coming from the collision. That time my defensive driving skills that my Dad has been pounding into me since I was 16 kicked in (if I had a nickel for every time he’s told me to “Slow down!” or “Be careful!”).

You’d think the passing driver would have learned his lesson, but he didn’t. I watched him pass car after car with on-coming traffic, tail gating in between before I lost sight of him near Way-Lyn Ranch.

I lose sleep over these near-misses, and I wonder what the response would be if I had a chance to ask these drivers if it’s really worth it to get there seconds earlier.

Just Posted

Cranbrook’s India Sherret nominated to Canadian Olympic ski cross team

Local skier set to compete at PyeongChang games in February, week after first World Cup medal

Fuel treatment underway in Cranbrook Community Forest

Project manager urges public to avoid area while fuel treatment work is being completed.

Dog stomped by deer on Norton Avenue

Udi, 15, had to be put down

Adams celebrated as 2017 Citizen of the Year

Gala dinner recognizes Mike Adams for his community volnteerism.

New slant on the next play

Cranbrook Community Theatre tries something new with next play

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Dryer incident at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Crown seeks 4.5 years jail for B.C. woman convicted of counselling tax evasion

Debbie Anderson the latest from group to face jail for teaching debunked ‘natural person’ theory

UPDATE: Brother of B.C. teen killed by stray bullet says the death left a void

Alfred Wong, 15, was gunned down in Vancouver while on his way home from dinner with his family

Most Read