Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fun with traffic accidents

There was a car accident just in front of me on the way to work this morning. Not too serious fortunately - I'd hate to see a major pile-up with fatalities. Despite appearances to the contrary, I actually have a rather low tolerance for suffering being inflicted on other people. It's higher than my tolerance for suffering inflicted on me, but I still get affected when I see other people suffering.

It was a fairly standard sort of accident; one car turning right when the lights turned orange and another car then ran the red (a taxi - big fucking surprise) and smacked into the turning car. He didn't hit the turning car too hard - his bumper came off and there was a lot of crumpled panels on the car he t-boned but no major wreckage. The taxi driver pulled his car off to the side and the other car stayed sitting in the middle of the intersection. This was a busy intersection in the middle of morning peak hour traffic.

This is something I've seen a few times and I've never been able to work it out: why, after an accident, do some people have a tendency to leave a perfectly driveable car where it is BLOCKING THE FUCKING ROAD? Are they expecting the CSI team to come along and so they need to "preserve the crime scene"? Not gonna happen, people. In this case, I give the driver a little benefit of the doubt. First, there may have been sufficient damage to her engine and/or wheels that she couldn't drive it (this didn't look likely but it's possible). Second, she may have been too traumatised by the crash to drive. I can sympathise with this, although it wasn't a serious accident, getting whacked broadside would be pretty freaky.

Having said that, I'll now abuse this person for making a dumb decision. Because that's how we do things in Angry Town - fuck your feelings, you wimp. Leaving your car in the middle of an intersection is stupid for at least two reasons above and beyond the fact that CSI aren't arriving any time soon. First, this was peak hour. Although the road wasn't completely blocked, traffic flow was seriously strangled and, being peak hour, the build-up of traffic would get significantly worse by the minute. This is the selfish side of me speaking but why the fuck would you make peak hour so much worse when there is no sensible reason to do so?

Second, people are stupid. There were at least four people standing around this car with a huge amount of traffic swerving around them. The probability that at least one of these drivers was a fuckwit who was likely to hit them is pretty goddam high. The way people stand around on roads like nothing bad will ever happen to them never ceases to amaze me.

But I'll reserve my real anger for the fucking idiot who was two cars in front of me at the intersection (I was three cars away from the intersection when the accident happened). This person was now first in the right turning lane but they chose not to turn. They got out of their fucking car and decided to console the traumatised driver of the car in the middle of the intersection. Thus completely blocking the right turning line.

Yes, this genius decided they had to get out and comfort someone who they didn't know and wasn't injured. Their actions may possibly have helped the driver but at the expense of significantly (and absolutely unnecessarily) worsening the traffic problems and increasing the chance of another accident by about a factor of ten. Particularly from idiots like the driver of the extremely large 4WD directly in front of me who decided to pull onto the wrong side of the road despite the fact that there were clearly two full lanes of oncoming traffic.

All in all, the inconvenience to me was very close to zero so that's not what I'm angry about. What makes me angry is people reacting in precisely the wrong way to a traffic accident. Oh no, I've been in an accident! I know what to do now, I'll piss off lots of people and see if I can get killed while I'm at it. And I really reserve my bitterest bile for the fucking moron who decided to get out of their car and block a lane to console a complete fucking stranger who wasn't in a particularly bad situation anyway.

I call this sort of self-indulgent shithead a grief junkie (because they are indulging themselves, it's far more about their gratification than the "victim's" suffering) and I think I'll devote a whole rant to them another day.

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