Every day I see a crash. Usually, it is after the crash and I am driving by the scene to see the wreckage. Most of the time, these crashes could have easily been avoided or prevented.
One Friday morning in May 2018, I was driving a passenger home from Newark Airport. We were traveling West on Route 78 in New Jersey, by the Garden State Parkway. A pickup truck that was overloaded with gravel was exiting the Garden State Parkway South, to connect with Route 78 West.
As the pickup truck rounded the exit ramp, I could see the right side start to lift up and right before my eyes, it flipped over, sending gravel everywhere. I was far enough away where I could avoid the crash and drive around the flipped pickup. I called 911 on my hands-free phone but did not stop because my passenger needed to get home.
Dangerous Lane Changes
This accident happened so fast that I didn’t realize it until after I had passed by the scene. It was early in the morning in November 2019. I was returning empty from Newark Airport, getting off at exit 138 in Kenilworth on my way home.
I thought to myself, “that looks like fog ahead.” But it wasn’t fog… it was smoke. A car in front of me cut across two lanes of traffic – from the left lane to the right lane exit – and didn’t check their mirror. They collided with another car right before my eyes.
A simple “neck check” would have avoided this catastrophe. (A “neck check” is when I turn my head to make sure I see there are no vehicles in my blind spot.)
I have personally avoided at least three high speed crashes by simply turning my head to the left before I passed a car. The neck check has saved my life!
This accident happened when I had a passenger on board (POB), driving them from western New Jersey to Newark Airport. A car was merging into traffic but did not check their blind spot on the left. As we approached the crash scene, my passenger said: “Get over to the shoulder to avoid the broken glass.” I realized that if we had been at that spot five seconds earlier, we would have been in the accident.
The moral of this Street Story is this: Always perform a “neck check” to look for your blind spots, both left and right. Otherwise, you might be in an accident that happens right before your eyes!