For most of us, a major car accident is little more than a blip: an item on the evening news; the sound of a speeding ambulance passing by us in traffic; an update on a radio show on the morning commute; a road-side memorial with candles, notes and flowers slowly fading away under the rain or sun.
But for some, for those in the car or on the bicycle or crossing the street at just the wrong second, that "blip" is the moment when everything changes, when their life's course is forever altered. Sometimes it means permanent injury - the loss of a limb, a spinal injury that leads to permanent paralysis, a head injury that leaves an individual with no ability to speak, or perhaps even to care for themselves. And those people, sadly, are the lucky ones: some die long before emergency crews ever even arrive on the scene.
For the families and friends of those injured or killed, there is only a lifetime ahead of wondering why such a thing has happened and wishing that anything could be done to change it.
According to Transport Canada statistics, fatal motor vehicle accidents have actually decreased over the years. Stricter belt laws and child restraint rules no doubt have saved many lives; so too have crackdowns on drinking and driving. That's great news, but the sad fact remains that far too many people still lose their lives for no reason other than innattention, or excessive speed, or sim-ply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The B.C. Day weekend is, historically, one of the most deadly periods on B.C. roads - as many as 1,800 crashes, on average, happen around the province on the long weekend. Some of those are minor fender-benders, but far too many result in death or permanent injury.
This weekend, remember that a simple "blip" is all it takes to turn someone's life - perhaps even your own - from ordinary to tragic.