Anyone who has ever been to Jacksonville will tell you the city is always under some kind of construction. For the past however long, there has been a major construction zone where I-10 and I-95 come together, to expand the amount of traffic the interchange can handle. One of the things that happens during all of this is of course changes to the various exits along the way. Normal, functional people who know how to merge and deal with traffic such as, oh, that sort of traffic you might encounter going to a football game, have no issues with this. Either you manage to make it over, or you just head up to the next exit. Simple, right?
Except for the total moron who stopped dead in the left hand lane – the very lane other people are also in, looking for an opening to merge right in order to get off at one particular exit. This idiot didn’t just stop: they slammed on their brakes, even though they’d not yet reached the area where the exit was even available. We all know what happens then: the person behind them has to slam on their brakes, and the person behind them, and the person behind them.
So today, for the first time ever, I was involved in a traffic accident. I rear-ended the guy in front of me after slamming on my brakes to try to avoid him after he slammed on his brakes to avoid the guy in front of him, who slammed on his brakes to avoid the guy in front of him, who slammed on his brakes to avoid the jackass who stopped in the middle of the damn highway because apparently the concept of merging and changing lanes was simply too difficult to grasp.
So I’d like to thank that jackass, and toss in the two troopers who showed up and decided that it was two separate incidents instead of one caused by that singular act. And I’d further like to thank the first trooper for not handing out a ticket to anyone in the first pair even though clearly one of them rear ended the other (because they “gave conflicting stories”, so he didn’t write one). Even further, I’d like to thank the second trooper for taking almost 25 minutes to type up a simple report and a ticket. For me. Because here, the person at the very back of the line gets screwed. Which is precisely what happened: I get the damage (the guy in front of me has a minor crack in his bumper, while my front bar is crumpled right into my front bumper and my left headlight is now out of alignment; the guy in front of him has minor bumper damage, and the guy in front of him has a small crumple in the hood and bumper damage), I get the insurance premium increase (because I am the only one who got a ticket out of this, and the very nice claims woman says they have to put me down as at fault), and I get the ticket (for “not exercising due care”, worth 121.50)
To sum up: I got hosed for an accident I did not cause and could not avoid.
And the jackass in the white Chevy Blazer who started it all? Drove off, and probably – unlike the rest of us – made it to the game on time.