Last evening, when I emerged from the fog bank, I almost ran down the road worker holding the stop sign.
Soon after I had left Thunder Bay in late afternoon, driving north, I encountered stretches of fog which sometimes reduced visibility to thirty or forty metres. Otherwise, the highway was mostly clear under low ceilings.
North of Nipigon, when the hilly section began, I heeded the caution to slow down for road construction but there seemed to be no activity. The day before, I had breezed by the same caution going to TBay and there hadn’t been a single construction machine in sight let alone human beings.
So when a figure loomed out of the fog, I braked sharply. I sensed rather than saw the hazy figure waving a sign.
I immediately rolled down the passenger window (if “rolled down” is the term one uses nowadays for opening a car window by pressing a button) and raised my voice: “I didn’t see you! You’re almost invisible,” and in my next breath, “Who’s your boss?”
Surprised out of his stupor, the worker blurted out, “Brad!”
I knew the road worker wasn’t to blame but I had every intention of chewing out Brad, his supervisor.
On the rest of the drive home, I cast my mind over times when I had lodged a complaint about some road hazard or case of dangerous driving or even of dangerous pedestering (if there is such a word).
Not long ago I recalled stopping at the Greenstone OPP detachment to warn of a dangerous practice. Pedestrians were walking on the shoulder, backs to traffic, on a walk to Ottawa. (See my post WALK THE RIGHT WAY, http://bit.ly/2KeceRU ). I approached the constable on duty and pointed out the walkers were breaking the law by not walking on the shoulder facing traffic. The constable responded that he wasn’t aware of any such law. Nevertheless, he said he would monitor the situation. He never got back to me so I don’t know what he did, but anyway, nobody died.
I looked up the Ontario statute with regard to pedestrians and lo and behold, there is such a law.
Another time in stormy winter weather, just south of Beardmore, a semi passed me on a curve and crowded me onto the shoulder. I had to brake hard to avoid mowing down guard rails. I was really scared. So I sped up and followed him in dangerous conditions all the way to Nipigon so that I could report him at the detachment. This is one case when I did get feedback. The OPP said there were two drivers and neither would admit to being behind the wheel. However, later the police told me they had notified their Vancouver-based company and were assured the boss would take action. Again, nobody died on that trip.
On another trip, I almost did die. Just south of Jellicoe, coming around a sharp curve, I met two transports. Together. Side by side. I managed to slip by between the pavement and the guard rails. At the next opportunity I bought a dashcan. I swore that next time my family and friends would have a record of how I died. I fondly believed that my camera would survive any head-on collision with a transport.
I didn’t blow the whistle that time ̶ what was the point? It was all over in seven seconds. (See my post SEVEN SECONDS TO LIVE, http://bit.ly/31V6k0N . This post is my whistle.)
Some years ago, just east of Kenora, I encountered a big truck hauling a big trailer piled high with loose debris. The pile was canted to one side, the side I was meeting the truck on. I pulled over when I could and called the situation in. After the usual barrage of questions about who I was and where I was and what I was complaining about and what was the maiden name of my deceased aunt, I continued my journey. I had a vision of the truck toppling over at a curve, obliterating sundry tourists and the odd Volkswagen.
Over the next twenty-four hours, I monitored the newspapers and broadcasts out of Winnipeg. Not a word. Apparently, nobody died.
So, yesterday, when the road worker gave me the go-head, I drove slowly down the hill towards the flashing lights and the blurry machines and pulled over for a guy in a hard hat. Yes, he was Brad. What did I mean I couldn’t see him. He glanced up the hill where I’m sure he couldn’t even see the worker he was supervising. Oh, he said, the fog. Yes, I said, the fog. Well, he said, we’re just about finished here.
I drove on. He walked on. Ruminating on the incident, I concluded the road worker has not in a fog bank but in a low-lying cloud. For one thing, the mist was lighter in the hollow where the road gang was working, and in my experience, fog congregates in the low spots.
Still, whether in a fog or in a cloud, the worker had been practically invisible.
I’m so glad I stopped in time.
I’m so glad nobody died this time.
And for reporting another dangerous situation, I got, as usual, no feedback.
Call me a Nervous Nellie or just a crank, but . . .
I’m so glad I blew my whistle.