Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I am writing about a horrific accident I observed between an SUV and a Toyota Camry. There are several lessons to be learned from this one.
On my daily commute through residential streets from Silver Spring to Bethesda, I fell behind a young woman in the Camry. We were going about 30 mph.
Without warning, she ran head-on into an Envoy SUV.
As I watched, the SUV flipped over her car, flipped over again in midair, then landed right side up.
The man in the SUV was belted in, and the airbags deployed. He was unconscious. Fortunately, a doctor in a trailing vehicle administered aid.
I never thought until I saw it myself that SUVs can flip that quickly. The SUV sustained much more damage than the Camry.
The young lady was driving her mother's car to high school. She was basically fine. A bee had entered her vehicle, and she panicked. This shows that she did not possess the driving skills to ignore the bee until she could stop safely.
Lastly, I always stop when I witness an accident to provide assistance, make a call or give a statement. I was amazed how many people didn't stop.
Thanks for sharing the story. I'm keenly interested in lessons to be learned from accidents. Fortunately, the people involved here did not seem badly hurt.
Now we can add a bee alert to the list of items parents should teach their children in driver education. We should at least point out what can happen if a driver doesn't ignore the insect and focus on the task at hand, difficult as that may be.
A parent might catch a large moth and release it while the teen is driving around a big, open parking lot to provide the experience of a sudden distraction.
The young driver should also be taught what to do if an animal suddenly appears in the road. If there is no way to stop in time, it is better to strike the animal than swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road. We learned that sad lesson when Grid-daughter Carrie had to strike a rabbit on a two-lane road without shoulders. It was the only choice.
I commend you for stopping and helping at accident scenes, Ms. Neal. I can fill columns with letters from accident victims who are grateful to good Samaritans who came to their aid.
Repulsive Metro Ad
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I'm writing to report what I feel is a highly offensive advertisement on the back of a Metro bus. I have also sent complaints to Metro and have requested addresses for board members, so I can write them directly.
The advertisement shows a scantily clad model and invites me to visit a new Web site. The offensive aspect was the Web site name emblazoned on the back of the bus:
As I indicated in my complaint to Metro, anyone approving content so clearly objectionable should be terminated for either a gross lack of good judgment or plain stupidity.
The name of the Web site, www.fcuk.com, would seem to be a play off a vulgar word, designed to catch the eye. It clearly did, and I understand your concern.
However, when I mentioned this in my Monday chat on www.washingtonpost.com, a reader perhaps more trendy than we are, Mr. Dickey, said the initials stand for "French Connection United Kingdom," a clothing retailer. Logging onto the Web site, we can see that FCUK has outlets in Pentagon City and Georgetown.
Perhaps the acronym is only a coincidence . . .
Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said the advertisement "complies with our existing guidelines [because it is neither obscene nor pornographic]. . . . I suggest that in addition to complaining to Metro that [Mr. Dickey] also contact the retailer and let them know [he is] offended by their name, their acronym and their advertising campaign."
Dr. Gridlock will conduct an online discussion from 1 to 2 p.m. tomorrow at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline to field questions and comments.
Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.
You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org or faxes at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.