[Public Service Announcement]
A Close Time Schedule And A Crowded Freeway Are A Bad Combination
by Reviewer Rob
Freeway traffic between San Diego and Los Angeles has been out of control for years, decades now. Southern California is in dreadful need of a better system of mass transit. Preferably one combining an elaborate network of trains with sleeper cars where late-night business riders can snooze in cubby-holes for an extra fee, ones that have wifi for regional commuting between cities like LA, San Diego and San Francisco.
In the photo below that’s me checking my tires for bald spots in Tustin. I’d just had a close call on the 5 freeway northbound.
On this night Interstate 5 was bumper-to-bumper traffic interspersed with sections of road where you could make 50 mile-per-hour progress for short distances.
It was in one of these open zones where I got distracted and looked off the side of the road at the sign for a new music store and was musing it could possibly be a good drop spot for the magazine. It was only for a fraction of a moment but when my eyes returned to the road the cars ahead of me had stopped and I was coming up fast on them with maybe 70 feet between us. Brake peddle to the floor immediately — I had to lock them up in the fast lane, screeching for about 30 or 40 feet to avoid a rear-end collision with the car ahead of me stopped suddenly in the heavy traffic. The skid seemed to go on and on forever but my van came to rest with its front bumper inches away, maybe less than a foot from the tailpipe.
I was amazed at how calm I felt afterwards considering I narrowly escaped totaling the Reviewervan. I was skidding for so long I even had time to swerve slightly to the left and then to the right in an attempt to absorb momentum. I even had time to go over my options for the after-crash scenario: whether or not I’d be injured or need to go to the hospital, or if not how I’d get home to San Diego, what I’d do with the wrecked van. So many things flash though your mind so quickly. The vehicles to my right and also in the carpool lane to my left must have had people freaking out. It was so bad a cloud of my tires’ smoke covered us as I came to a stop. Kudos to the almost-victim driver ahead of me for pulling a good move by popping the clutch or accelerating slightly at the last moment as I approached in the rear-view. That small bit of distance may have been what saved us.
Don’t ever daydream or get distracted while driving, kids, ever but especially on the freeway.
My tires looked okay, but then I noticed I was really hungry and needed to find some food and also change into a clean t-shirt because I suddenly felt sweaty.
This update is adapted from an Instagram post of mine on October 6th, IG @reviewerrob.