Do you ever find yourself approaching an intersection as the light turns yellow, so you step on it to beat the red light?
Today I saw this scenario unfold at a north/south intersection as I was stopped heading west. Thankfully no accident occurred, but it did remind me of an accident I witnessed a few months ago.
I was the first car stopped at a red light heading northbound on La Brea Avenue. As we all know, on many Los Angeles streets, a left-turning car must wait until the light is yellow to safely make the turn. The driver of a Honda Civic began to do just that from 6th Street onto North La Brea, when a Mini Cooper out of nowhere broadsided her, trying to beat the red light heading west.
The sound of the collision was one of the loudest I’ve ever heard. It shook me up just watching and hearing the impact. I immediately parked on a side street and called 911. I told the dispatcher I’d just witnessed a serious car accident. I was surprised anyone survived the collision.
I walked over to the intersection to notify the drivers that I witnessed what occurred. The Honda driver was shaken up. She told me it’d been over thirty years since her last accident, and she thanked me for stopping.
For those of you wondering–no, I didn’t stop to try and solicit the accident victim as my client. That’s illegal and unethical, and the Rabbi Lawyer doesn’t play that way.
I stopped to make sure the drivers were both OK and to give the police officer my statement.
There are two lessons here:
1. If you ever witness a car accident, don’t just drive away. Call 911, and if you can, wait around to offer the police whatever information you have to assist with their investigation. It may not be possible for you to pull over safely if an accident happens in the middle of traffic. But you can and should find a safe place to pull over and offer helpful information if you have it.
2. Please do not ever try and beat a red light. Use your judgment. If you cannot safely pass the intersection without flooring the gas pedal, stop and wait for the next light.