Thursday, January 5, 2012

Playing Chicken

It's happened again!

I was leading a rather long procession. As we traveled through town, the traffic on the opposite side of the street would pull over and stop their cars out of respect for the deceased. There is no law that cars must pull over for us. This is done simply out of respect. Whenever I am leading a procession in the city, I'll witness my line of cars being cut off frequently. But in a small town, there is a different attitude toward these things.

As we made our way out to the country cemetery, I looked in the sideview mirror to notice that a truck 3 cars back from me was half in the on-coming lane. Then much to my surprise, as a car approached me and didn't pull off to the side of the road, the truck moved over further. And then, a small car behind the truck darted over completely into the on-coming traffic! The on coming car hit the side of the road to avoid the head-on collision. I thought then, "This is not good!" Then it happened again with the next car. This one went skidding across the gravel and sideways into the ditch. The family was demanding that people pull over for the procession.

Now, we are traveling at about 35mph and the on coming traffic is doing 55 to 60mph. They've barely realized that it is even a procession when they are suddenly being forced off the road. Fearing for the safety of everyone on the road, I brought the procession to a stop. I apologized to the widow in the car directly behind me for the delay and marched back to the offending cars. I informed them that there was no law that someone had to pull over and that they need to stay in their own lane of traffic for safety sake.

I returned to the hearse and started slowly moving the line of cars to our destination again. When the first car approached us, I watched as the same truck and car did it again. At that point, I brought the procession to a crawl. The remainder of the trip was at about 7mph. When traffic approached, I slowed even more. Shy of calling the police and having them ticketed for reckless driving, I don't know what more I can do about this.

This story was made even more upsetting when I saw in the paper two days later a person that claimed to be run off the road by a funeral procession and stuck in a ditch when they were on their way to the hospital for their own emergency.

What are these people thinking?!


MorningAJ said...

It makes you wonder what kind of people they are doesn't it? Although they are presumably grieving and not necessarily thinking normally - but it's still a concern.

It amazes me that some people here seem to have stopped moving out the of the way for ambulances. I was on a dual carriageway a few weeks ago when I heard the two-tone behind me and saw blue flashing lights in the far distance in my rear-view mirror.

Most people moved to the near-side lane to allow the ambulance to go past in the outside lane - except one guy who seemed to think we'd all moved over to let him past.......

I only hope if he needs medical attention in the future that other people don't copy him!

Moving with Mitchell said...

Unbelievable! At my father's funeral, we actually got honked at because the narrow lane inside the cemetery was blocked as he was taken from the hearse.

Jim said...

There ought to be laws! Maybe then they 'may' slow down. Those kind of drivers are a little crazy when they have to slow down....nothing will get in THEIR way!
Good that you 'kept your head' Stew.