Where Are The Witnesses?

Yesterday evening, on my way to OCD group, I was sitting in the non-duck turn lane waiting on my chance to make a U-Turn under the highway. I looked around at the other cars, as I usually do when I’m waiting at a light.

You can see the funniest things on other cars.

I was once behind a car with the bumper sticker, “Please Be Careful, Show Bunnies On Board.” And I thought, why would I show anyone bunnies? I don’t have any bunnies to show. I have a bird… but I don’t think that’s anything that other drivers really want to see. Nor do they. Unless they piss me off.

But I digress.

Two lanes next to me, an SUV sat alone at the light. Out of nowhere (or really, out of a little way’s up the frontage road), another car sped down the lane. The driver didn’t even brake – at least, there were no brake lights to be seen – and slammed into the SUV.

It was a mess. There was glass everywhere. The kind of thing that no one likes to admit that they like to see on occasion because it keeps things interesting, but that, everyone watches. As if the accident wasn’t bad enough, the no-brakes-kamikaze driver backed up, turned the car just a bit, and then floorboarded it around the side of the SUV, hitting another car in the process and speeding off.

I made a point to check the license plate as he drove away, repeating it to myself a few times. It only made sense to do so. By this time, my light had turned green – but I didn’t want to turn anymore. I signaled, trying to get to the side of the road so that I could pull over and offer the information I had. And make sure that everyone was okay.

But you know, it took five minutes – filled with a cacophony of honking horns – before anyone let me across the lanes of traffic. In the end, I got over. Parked.

Three of us did. Three people.

But there must have been twenty cars sitting at the light. So what I want to know is this: Where were the other witnesses? Is everyone so wrapped up in their own lives that they don’t notice when a psycho plows into an SUV? How is it possible that no one else saw? Moreso, how is it possible that everyone did see, and decided to just pull away and let other people handle it?

It blows my mind. It baffles me.

I’m no saint. God knows. I’ve been known to share my music with friends illegally. I have the mouth of a sailor in real life. I can be catty. And sarcastic. And condescending as hell. I’m far from perfect. But the absolute lack of a sense of civic responsibility? THAT, I don’t get.

I’ve relayed this story to a few people now and most of them have been SURPRISED that I bothered to pull over. They want to know why I would get involved. I want to know why they wouldn’t. Maybe that’s the left over social worker in me – I’m not sure. But I can’t get my head around the concept of “let other people take care of it.” If everyone says that, no one does anything.

And if I’m the one on the side of the road with a totaled car, I certainly would hope that people would stop to help me.

I think it’s just a matter of Do The Right Thing. I see it less and less, and it’s disheartening. These are the basic rules that we’re taught as children, aren’t they?

Pick up after yourself.

Help people out when you can.

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Why is it okay for us to forget them as adults? In a situation where 20 people witness a car crash, why did only three people stop to make sure that everyone was okay and that the passengers weren’t hurt?

Did I mention that there was a child in the car? And that, if they hadn’t been in an SUV, the crash would have likely caused injury?


As it was, the second car that the psycho hit didn’t take too kindly to being swiped, and when the psycho ran, that person chased him. By the time the police got to us, he’d been apprehended. But if he hadn’t? There were three of us there, ready with license plate numbers and eyewitness accounts, willing to speak to the police about what happened  – something that would have been crucial, as the only one in the SUV who spoke English was the 10-year-old girl.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m asking too much of people. Expecting too much. Another of my flaws.

But seriously…

It just seems fracked.



One Comment to “Where Are The Witnesses?”

  1. Hell no .. your right! One of my goals in life is to assist someone in car crash. I have not been able to do that … car crashes never happen around. So thats a good thing … I guess. Lol … anyways …. I would help. I would sooooo help out!

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