By Saeed Qureshi
It is hard to describe the pitiable plight of the commuters during an accident especially in the middle of traffic jams. Finding no outlet, one feels trapped like a mouse as there are vehicles right and left, front and behind. The agony and frustration in such situations is indescribable. For students and patients such jams are worst.
On the morning of February 9 instant, while driving towards my assignment place, I was stuck up in a traffic jam on 121 Highway for about four hours. After entering the highway from Legacy road in Frisco, all of sudden I found myself trapped in the main highway with vehicles right and left and more coming from behind. It took me four hours from entry point to the place of accident some 15 miles ahead to get released from that gridlock. I couldn’t reach on time and my appointment was canceled by the providers. For that day I was not paid. This traffic standoff was all the way from the 75 to intersection of 35 and beyond towards the south in 121.
Almost after four to five hours when the road was partially opened I opted for a detour and returned home entirely dejected and exhausted. Caught up in this bizarre and agonizing situation, all the commuters were moving by inches ahead. Those who would take exit for escaping the main highways would fall into a more tricky and irksome situation. The countess other drivers would do the same and thus stuck up for hours on the traffic signals which must be more excruciating and agonizing.
Such accidents and traffic jams occur on the roads almost every day. It has been observed that whenever an accident occurs on the American roads, it normally takes three to four hours or even more before the normal traffic flow is resumed. Invariably, hundreds of commuters suffer by way of meeting their appointments, reaching their job locations and some other time bound pressing engagements. Besides, trapped on the roads with no outlet causes mental agony, frustration and sense of helplessness. Waiting and moving by inches cause more gas consumption, time wastage, and loss of wages for the daily workers. If gas tank empties then one can imagine the miserable plight of the individuals sitting on the steering wheel and the vehicle engine shut-off.
Many commuters have to rush to the courts for hearings or for the judges to dispense justice. The school going buses are stranded and without any way-out to take the children well in time to their respective institutions. The patients with serious health issues cannot meet their scheduled appointments with the physicians or in the hospitals. The businessmen and the common people going to their offices and work places cannot reach in time.
Patently it’s a flawed system which can be rectified at no additional cost. All that is needed to adopt such alternatives and steps that can keep the flow of the traffic reasonably modest if not fast. As a conscientious citizen of this great country I would like to offer some measures that might rectify such painful situations and also help the traffic police to do their job of handling such incidents and accidents in a much shorter time and save the commuters from being stuck-up on the roads for hours.
First of all, the administration of counties and cities should realize that this a very serious issue that merits resolution for the betterment of the countless commuters. The traffic police and the officials responsible for maintenance of roads and flow of traffic ought to sit together to streamline such bottlenecks that can be smoothed or technically resolved. While the accidents are unavoidable yet such a modus-operandi can be evolved that might reduce the amount of time for which the vehicles normally remain on the roads after the accidents.
Generally, there are two kinds of traffic accidents: those in which only the vehicles collide and no human injury of loss of lives occurs. The others are those categories in which deaths and injuries also take place. In case of injuries an ambulance is called and it takes some time for ambulance to reach the place of collision. Also, the wrecked vehicles have to be towed away and for that too towing trucks or vehicles are needed which also take some time to reach the accident location.
But as a matter of fact, the towing trucks or ambulances can reach without any interruption and in much shorter because those can use the sideline to reach the accident location. It has been observed that the police summons both the ambulance and toeing truck after reaching the location. It would be preferable if after receiving the accident report from anyone, besides themselves immediately reaching the location they should summon the medical staff, the ambulance and the truck there and then. This is necessary so that the police staff and other attending support like ambulance and truck and medical staff can reach the place immediately. If the accident is minor the truck and ambulance can be returned. It is extremely important that out of three or four lanes at least one should be kept open. That would facilitate movements of the vehicles although not very fast. But that could alleviate jamming of the vehicles for hours without getting ahead.
While sitting in the car no one may not have any clue as to where the accident occurred and how serious was it. If possible, it would be desirable to covey to the stranded commuters through the local channels, public address system or any other format as to where the accident had happened and how it happened and how serious was it.
There could many who might be having serious health problems and who are claustrophobic. There should be some arrangements and modus-operandi available for dealing with such unusual situations.
If possible, the damaged vehicles and the injured individuals can be moved from the center road to the either left or right sides. That would not only be useful in providing first aid to the affected passengers but may as well open the roads much earlier than what is being done presently.
If possible, the helicopter service can be marshaled in certain serious situation where seriously injured passengers can be promptly moved to the nearby hospitals or health proving locations.
As already stated, it is primarily for the county and city administrators and the police to adopt the best and most effective measures to clear the roads as quickly as possible, besides removal of the debris and the people wounded in the crash or collision. Nevertheless, one lane must be kept opened for movement of the vehicles.
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