The other day I drove a friend to JFK Airport, in New York. It was last Wednesday, the day we had severe thunderstorms here in Connecticut. The ride down was uneventful. It was a beautiful afternoon actually. My friend wanted to make sure to get there early so as to not miss his pm flight. Traffic can be unexpectedly bad. To avoid any possible delays, we headed out early. We got him at the airport around 3 pm-ish, six hours before his flight! He called me several times from his cell phone, claiming absolute boredom. I had to laugh. If we had chosen to leave any later, he almost definitely would have missed the flight. Good thing we didn’t take the chance.
This was my first time to JFK Airport. And for not being certain as to which way to get back, it sure was easier than I thought. Signs for Whitestone Bridge (the way to Long Island that I’m most familiar) appeared almost immediately upon exiting the airport. I had the radio tuned to KROCK (WXRK 92.3 FM) for most of my trip back. But, I did flip on WCBS (880 AM) to hear the traffic and weather.
Listeners were being forewarned of thunderstorms and flash floods. I thought to myself that if I could just stay ahead of the rain, I would have a safe trip. Well the storms caught up to me while on the Hutchinson Express Parkway (Route 15). It was raining so hard, that I had to slow down to 25 mph. Much to my surprize, with such low visibility, people were passing me at nearly 50 mph! Not only that, but there was ankle deep water on the roads, and small mudslides in some areas.
Sadly, I passed two accidents. Although I had expected many more. For the most part, these were fender benders; one vehicle did have its rear window smashed. No emergency vehicles were dispatched to help with the flow of traffic. At least not wherever I was. I just couldn’t believe how reckless so many people were driving.
I was as anxious as the next driver to get home, so I rejected my own idea to pull over at one of the several gas stations along the way. I was beginning to feel fatigued by the strain on my nerves. I consider myself to be a very good driver. I don’t mean to sound arrogant about it (although on my radio program I did boast that I own the road! in jest of course…) I started being a more careful driver after my first child was born in 1997. I came to realize that no where is that important to be. I’d rather arrive safely, than not arrive at all. So as I’m holding on to my steering wheel with both hands, the way my teacher instructed some 18 years ago, I was baffled as to why people will compromise their safety and that of others in such horendous driving conditions.
The only answer I have is that people have been led to believe that the vehicle they are driving will protect them from injury. So, caution is thrown to the wind. I also believe people place alot of trust in their insurance companies to pay for whatever damages they incur in an accident. There is obviously no resolution to this matter as people will continue to drive carelessly and recklessly until someone dear and precious to them gets injured in accident that could have been prevented by safer driving.