There is a billboard on the way to my office that reads, When push comes to shove, don’t. It’s supposed to be a pleasant reminder that a civil society is possible, but it starts with you. Nice.
I suppose the motorist in front of my on the off ramp on Tuesday did not pass that particular billboard.
As traffic slowed and then stopped on the ramp before the toll booth, it became clear that something was wrong. This was not a typical sunshine slowdown or even the result of a motorist trying to pay a toll with foreign currency.
Inch by inch the cars eeked forward and finally, at the crest of the off ramp, a three-car accident came into view. The crash was so fresh there were not yet police or medical personnel on site.
Three cars were involved: one had its front end smashed into the median, the second seemed to have no rear end at all for the trunk had crumpled and the bumper had rammed into the back seat, and the third, a white sedan, contained two high school students.
The scene blocked the left lane and so the rest of the commuters began the weaving dance of letting cars over into the right lane one at a time. A Nissan Altima let me over, and I in turn let a red Toyota Rav 4 in front of me.
The line of cars slowly made its way past the accident victims, careful to give plenty of berth. The drivers of the three cars were all on cell phones. They all looked upset. This is not how anyone planned to start their day.
When finally my section of the traffic line passed the crash site, I noticed the driver of the Rav 4 in front of me roll down his or her window, stick out their arm and flip off the accident victims. How dare they get into an accident and add 5 minutes to a commute. The nerve.
Civility. Pass it on.