September 13, 2007

Danger of Tire-Changing

Fall River man struck, killed while changing flat tire

The unfortunate man was struck on Riverside Ave, not far from here.

He was airlifted by helicopter to RI Hospital. The helicopter had landed in the field of the nearby elementary school, and was there while parents (including Maggie) were picking up children at the end of the school day.

Folks, be really careful if you ever have to change a flat on the road.

Over 13 years ago I was driving up to Burlington, where I used to work on an overcast day. There was a late and very light snowfall. I was all dressed up, because I was going to leave work early for an interview (which turned into my current job at UMass). One of my tires blew out on my Toyota.

There wasn’t much of a shoulder on that stretch of Route 128, but I pulled over, hopped out, and started to fish out my tire, cars whizzing past in the rush hour traffic.

Before I got down on my knees to jack up the car, a man in a pickup truck pulled in behind me and jumped out of the cab. He said “You’re all dressed up, let me do that for you. Just make sure nobody hits me.”

So I stood in the road, facing the oncoming traffic and made sure they saw me. When I looked back at him, I could see that he wasn’t really all that visible to cars coming around the gradual curve in the road. But his truck and me standing there were enough to alert people that something was going on.

The guy left me with a message to help someone else out someday, and I’ve kept him in mind the times I’ve offered my help to someone in need. If you see someone changing a tire, even just pulling in behind them to block traffic, you can possibly save a life.

Riverside, over here, is supposed to be a 30 or 35 MPH zone, but people really speed through that stretch. It is narrow and curvy enough and people drive too fast. Recently, when friends of mine visited and we walked along Riverside, I couldn’t believe how the cars seemed oblivious to the speed limit. I wish I could say I am surprised that something like this happened on that road.

Go slow on curvy roads. We lose too many people to these tragic accidents.

Posted by James at September 13, 2007 10:09 PM
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Sad story and good advice.

Posted by: Kitten Herder at September 14, 2007 5:53 AM

Thanks for this post. I'm sure I'll think of it the next time I see someone pulled over.

Posted by: Patti M. at September 14, 2007 8:22 AM

Yeah. It's not something you really think about. Good to have in the back of your mind.

Posted by: briwei at September 14, 2007 1:30 PM

Last winter, a father and son each lost a leg because someone wasn't paying attention and ran into the back of their SUV, pinning them between the vehicles. They had a good shoulder and a long straight stretch of road. The woman who hit them hadn't been drinking, but I believe she was chatting on her cell phone.

Posted by: Judy at September 14, 2007 1:49 PM

Thank you so much for this post. I'm going to stop and block when I can in the future. Saving one life is more important than twenty minutes of anyone's time.

Great post James!

Posted by: Papamoka at September 16, 2007 7:13 PM

This was sad. The man was hit by an 18 year old who was distracted changing a CD in his car and swerved into him. He is being charged with "causing a death by negligent driving."

People need to drive while they're driving. It's very frightening.

Posted by: Maggie at September 16, 2007 10:15 PM

This atheist says, amen to that. Driving is dangerous. Pay attention.

Posted by: Chuck S. at September 18, 2007 1:48 PM

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