Looking both ways before driving through an intersection could save your life, as I have learned first-hand.
I was driving west on the 401 last Friday and got off at the Bathurst St. exit, which curves around and ends at a T intersection with traffic signals on Wilson Ave., across the street from Bagel World, home of Toronto’s best scrambled eggs and onions.
The off ramp is three lanes wide, with the inner and middle lane for vehicles turning left to go west on Wilson, while the other lane is for traffic going east to Bathurst.
I was waiting to turn left in the inner lane, contemplating a pit stop for eggs and onions, while a car was next to me in the middle lane, also waiting for the lights to change.
When the light turned green, I took my foot off the brake and was about to enter the intersection, but shot a quick look to the left before I stepped on the gas. A small grey car was speeding towards me and the red light for which it was supposed to stop.
I jumped on the brakes and didn’t move, but the woman in the middle lane started into the intersection, just as the grey car came hurtling through at what looked to be about 50 k/ph,, several seconds after the light turned red.
She must have seen him at the last second and cranked her wheel to the right, while the guy running the light slammed on the brakes and tried to steer around her, causing the front fenders of both vehicles to slam together, instead of a T-bone collision.
It looked as if the driver who caused the accident had no intention of stopping, even though the light turned red several seconds before he got to it. He never tried to slow down until he was almost on top of the car that pulled into the intersection.
I could only conclude that he deliberately ran the red, or was distracted by something like a cell phone.
The accident unfolded right in front of me, but didn’t scare me because I saw him ahead of time and was never in danger. But I was instantly angered by the driver’s dangerous disregard for others.
He got out of his car and approached the other driver, who was sitting in her wrecked car. I got out of mine to check on her. She was badly shaken but unharmed.
“You didn’t even try to stop,” I said to him, wagging a finger. He winced and nodded, as though he agreed.
If I had started into the intersection without looking first, he would likely have t-boned my car. If he got me in the door, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you about it.
But for a timely twist of her steering wheel, the woman would have taken the impact squarely in the middle of her car, instead of the front fender.
I waited for the cops to show up, called by tow truck drivers who arrived and began directing traffic around the wrecks, so I could provide an eye witness account.
After nearly an hour with no sign of police, I scribbled a thumbnail summary of what happened on the back of my business card and gave it to the woman, asking her to pass it along to the police and tell them that I would be happy to to talk to them.
Nearly a week later, I’m still waiting for a call. I forgot to get the woman’s name and phone number, so I can’t call her to ask what happened.
If that guy isn’t charged with dangerous driving, something’s very wrong with the reporting system for accidents where no one is injured.
Maybe the guy was charged, or will be soon. I don’t know, but I can only hope he didn’t get away with it.