On my way to Cape Cod Saturday morning, about ten, the otherwise smooth flow of traffic came to an abrupt halt just beyond the blind highway corner where routes 93 and 3 meet, known as the Braintree split. About 100 cars in front of me there seemed to be an accident of some kind, and I assumed it must be blocking a lane, because everything was merging left. A man on foot was walking up the highway, near-francticly gesturing everyone to merge left. I sensed that he was an early arrival on the scene of the accident, because his actions were those of a man motivated to act and angry at those who did not share his motivation and understanding. I've seen that before, often at the scene of accidents - usually bad ones.
Sure enough, at my creeping pace into the one open lane on the far left, I had time to glmpse a BMW 3-series -E46 I think- with collision damage, and the rolled-over remains of what I took to be a Nissan Pathfinder (the paper says it was a Toyota 4Runner; I won't argue). My assessment was that they had collided, up the road, and the SUV flipped after the collision. But I wasn't paying much attention. I was trying to merge my Porsche in among the gawkers, who were mostly staring at the people, rather than guiding their cars along. I don't really blame them, I guess.
One big guy was face-planted in the middle of the highway about fifty feet from the rolled SUV, immobile. Another guy was lying on his back, propped on a rolled coat as a pillow, and being comforted by someone else. They seemed to have been ejected (makes the firefighters' job easier - no cutting). Others were standing around stunned. Clearly, the big guy was dead. If you have any control over yourself, you don't lie with your nose pressed into the pavement in the middle of a highway. And the other people were staying away from him.
Hearing sirens, seeing a Trooper backing up the nearby on-ramp, and knowing the highway was clogging up behind, I did what every good driver should do in that situation: get the hell out of there. Unless you witnessed the accident, of course, in which case you should make sure the cops get your name and number. Because unless you're an off-duty paramedic, or firefighter, or ER doc; or maybe driving a wrecker or a car with a trunkful of road flares, there's nothing for you to do. Get out of the way so the professionals can get to the scene.
By the way, it took a long time for the emergency responders to arrive. I know this because I timed the length of my stay in traffic before passing the crash: nine minutes. In that time, no rescue workers arrived, although the news radio said, "we're getting word of an accident at the Braintree split...." When I passed the crash, a Trooper was just arriving. One minute later, I saw a northbound ambulance and fire engine, which I assume were headed to the scene. Best case: it was 10-12 minutes from first call to first response. Way too long for my tastes.
Not that it made any difference. That guy was dead.
The paper notes that someone was cited for driving to endanger. I assume it was the BMW operator; I did not see any other involved cars.
Why didn't I take any photos? I had all my cameras and a digital videocam with me, after all. I forgot. I was focused on my car and on getting the hell out of there without being art of the problem. It's just as well. Had I taken any, I would have had to decide whether to put them up here.
Get out of the way if you don't have anything to add.
Don't drive crazy, because you could kill someone.
Sell your SUV - they roll more easily than cars.
But most of all -most of all- wear your fucking seatbelt.