Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Safety Reminder

This past Saturday morning, we were trucking along through western Wyoming on our way from Irving, TX to Hermiston, OR. I was in the back sleeping as Ben took to the curves and hills between Ft. Bridger, WY and Ogden, UT. The roads were a little slick at times but nothing was too treacherous.

He took a ten-minute bathroom break in Evanston, which was a little odd, as he had just stopped 30 minutes earlier. Since we had time on the load, he decided it wasn't worth it to push on but instead take the break.

Boy, are we glad he did!

Just a few miles east of Ogden, through the windy 55mph curves of a canyon drive, we were stopped in traffic, five vehicles behind a state trooper. We came to find out that there was a multiple vehicle, multiple injury accident ahead, including a tanker truck that was leaking propane. It didn't look good, and we would be parked on the interstate waiting for quite a while.

Based on the trooper's disclosure of the timing of the accident and the amount of vehicles involved, we realized that Ben's 10-minute bathroom break likely is what saved us from being part of the collision train. Twenty-four total vehicles were involved, including four semis, and sadly, one fatality. Click here to read the article describing the unfortunate circumstances.

We decided, after waiting for 3+ hours, to take a detour through another canyon. It was tight and slow and not recommended for semis (because of the 8% grade up and down, for one thing), but we made it through. It reminded both of us of West Virginia, with how cramped everything was and how much of the road ran along a river, with nothing but inches between us and the concrete barriers, and then just inches between the barriers and the river below. The article tells the story of another incident involving a tractor-trailer who also took that detour. Thankfully we were through it long before that happened!

It has been a good reminder to us to be extra vigilant as winter has arrived fast and furious this year. You just never know when that blind spot ahead of you may be harboring a 24 vehicle pile-up! Fatalities are never easy to take either--and the fact that the young man who passed is just one year younger than the two of us, and likely hasn't been trucking all that long either. That hits close to home. It is an extra reminder of our own mortality, as well as the need to continue living life in an upright, moral and faithful way.

Life is precious. Treat it well, and drive safely out there!

Miles this week: 4500
Recent enjoyments: waking up to magical big-fat-wet snowflakes on Sunday morning, walking a mile to Mass at the Cathedral in Baker City, OR and watching the Steelers/Ravens Sunday Night Football game in the midst of a restart

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