Fresh from a delightful discovery of my new favorite culinary escape in Tobago, Tony and I approached one of the narrow bridges on our way home. Yes … narrow as in room for one car. As we were about half way across the bridge, we noticed a white truck speeding towards us. Flashing his lights and honking, Tony continued our onward path. And so did the other car.
“Whew! That was close!” I thought as we barely crossed over the bridge and the truck closely passed.
Tony stopped his car, looked at me and then hopped out of the door to inspect the damage to his car … which was significant.
Turning around I saw the other truck poking through the frail bridge rail with one tire and half the cab hanging over the water about four feet below. I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the other drive unhurt, but pacing the road pumping his arms in the air in shock, anger and disbelief.
At first there was a bit of rushed comments, pointed fingers and raised voices. Neither driver could believe what happened.
“You flashed your lights and I thought you were going to stop!” The other driver insisted.
“I flashed my lights to bring attention to where I was and honked,” Tony replied.
Of course a crowd quickly gathered (we were mere feet away from a fresh fish stand and beach bathers). The bystanders all provided their opinions about what happened and what should be done.
I stood near Tony’s car about 20 feet away from the ruckus, in no way wanting to get involved in the “discussion.” Besides, someone had to tell the approaching cars to turn around because the bridge was blocked.
After 45 minutes at the scene, during which the initial rush of emotions subsided and rational thinking prevailed, a local man of seeming authority provided his opinion that the other truck did indeed rush us and that we were clear, or near to it, of the bridge when the impact happened. Thankfully, everyone accepted it and decided to go to the police station to report the event.
This was a case of confused messages and letting rushed feelings impair decision-making. The other driver was in a rush to pick up his mother and just assumed the signal given meant “go ahead” without assessing the full situation – like our car’s position on the bridge.
Well … we all are guilty of sometimes passing a quick appraisal of signals and messages in our life situations without taking a bit more time or a wider look at what is really happening. The hole in the bridge rail and tire marks will remain a good reminder to me to not make the same mistake.