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.

Top Heavy

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!

Dangerous Merge

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!

RH Stovall, Jr
Article by RH Stovall, Jr

R.H. Stovall, Jr. is a Senior Executive Chauffeur, trainer and mentor for Royal Coachman Worldwide in Denville, NJ.

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