January 18, 2021
While we drove the interstate to work yesterday, I noticed a Highway Police car with its lights on parked at the transfer ramp that led to the bridge over the Interstate. My immediate thought was to question the logic of stopping a vehicle on the side of a bridge. It had happened recently, but the traffic was already starting to back up as the big trucks tried to squeeze by the van stopped in the tight spot. As we neared the van, I noticed the obvious sag on the left side of the vehicle. I assumed that meant rather than a traffic stop it had a flat tire, and the police were trying to help as they changed it. While I never heard what really happened, as we got our turn to squeeze past, I noticed both rear tires on the left-hand side had been removed from the van. It was a wonder there was no additional damage.
When I was in college my mate dropped me off at work and went on home. Five minutes later they were back in tears. As they made a right-hand turn a block away the tire sheared off the axel. When I arrived, the car sat in the middle of the intersection with the rear tire askew and wedged into the wheel well. I called a tow truck and within thirty minutes we had towed the car to a local repair shop. I had recently purchased tires and when they were installed, they failed to tighten the lug nuts on one of the tires. After a few days, the wobbly tire wore through the axel bolts and the tire sheared off. I guess it could have been worse. We could have been on the highway rather than making a slow turn.
We had only been in town for three weeks, but I knew the right tow shop to call. We had packed everything we owned and driven over the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains to arrive in Salt Lake City. As we drove down the Interstate’s exit ramp I braked to a stop. The car gave a shudder, and I heard a loud thud from the rear of the vehicle. When I got out to look, I saw the tongue of the homemade trailer I had purchased sheared from the trailer. While my first thought was for everything we owned, my second was the damage this could have caused if it had happened going through the mountain passes. This was not the way I envisioned starting a new life in Utah.
Thoughts: These incidents are just a few of the times I have experienced or seen accidents caused by parts of vehicles being sheared off. That does not even count the number of times I have seen intact fenders laying at the side of the road. Most catastrophic accidents happen in the flash of an eye. Unless you are part of the accident, you rarely hear the story behind what happened or even why. Instead, we see the scene from afar and guess. Like my assumption of the police stopping a car on the bridge, quite often we are wrong. We need to take this lesson with us into 2021. Things are rarely as clear as we see them from the outside. Rather than make assumptions about what others did or thought, we need to step back and take time to discover what really occurred. Otherwise, we may be responsible for causing additional damage. Do the work. Change is coming and it starts with you.