In a split second, driver would have been gone

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

First and foremost, I want to make my grandchildren aware of how quickly things can change. All drivers and passengers should read the following and take some part of it with you down the highway.

It was hot on last Friday in lower Alabama. It was lunchtime – the noon hour. As I sat at the red light in the intersection of malfunction junction my car was running, the windows were all up, and the air conditioner was on. From somewhere behind me, probably the proximity of Fireman’s Barbecue, I heard the thunderous roar of the train horn. That monster of rolling steel riding the rails at a snail’s pace; and yet, I had to cover one ear because the train’s horn was so loud.

Sitting there in my car, I could see the train first from the corner of my eye and then in plain sight as it approached the intersection. The engineer was steadily sounding the horn as a warning, warning, warning. And then, out of nowhere, a pickup truck drove through the intersection. I could see the look on the engineer’s face as he stared at the truck in disbelief as did I. Was the truck driver oblivious to that big iron horse? Was the driver on a cell phone texting? Was the radio blaring? Were there children inside the truck?

Lives – so many lives – could have been changed in that instant. Headlines would have told of the tragedy – train versus truck – and only one outcome was possible.

What on earth could have been so urgent for the truck driver to tempt fate lie that?

OK, that truck made it unscathed through the intersection that time, but what about the next time?

If that particular lunch hour experience left such an impact on me, then what did it do the train engineer? That incident was a near miss, but what are the long-term results?

Slow down. Heed the warning signals. Stop; look and listen. Don’t become a tragic statistic.

At the end of the day, I want to go home safely to my family, don’t you?

Linda R. Thompson,