It was raining (hard) as I headed for home last night. It was about 9:30pm as I existed the Norwood Lateral and turned north on I-71. For anyone who is not familiar with the area, the Lateral runs east/west [I was heading east] and 71 runs north/south on the east side of Cincinnati.
Usually it runs. Last night it was a parking lot.
I’m a girl who likes information, so I called Dad.
“I just turned off the Lateral onto 71 and it’s a complete standstill. Can you see if you can figure out what’s going on?”
My understanding of the situation: I wanted to know A) what the problem was, B) where—exactly—the problem was, C) whether I should be considering an alternate route, and D) how long it would take me to get home.
Dad’s understanding of the situation: Actually, I don’t know what his understanding was—I just know it didn’t match mine. I know this because he said, “Was 75 backed up?”
“What? I have no idea. I’m on 71. Can you see if you can figure out what the issue is here?”
“Did you see if 75 was backed up and then decide to take 71?”
“75 is on the west side. I’m now on the east side. I just want to know what’s causing the problem.”
“Why did you go that way?”
(In my head, “Why does that matter? Just see if you can figure out what the situation is!”)
What I actually said, “I always go this way. I think maybe I see flashing lights, but I’m not sure.”
“So you’re moving, just slowly.”
“No, at this moment, I am l literally not moving at all.”
“I’m listening to NPR and they haven’t said anything about a problem on 71.”
(In my head, “No, I wouldn’t think this would hit the national news headlines.”)
What I actually said, “…”
Dad hung up to research the issue.
Traffic crept forward 3 car lengths.
“Well, Sweetie, I can’t find anything.”
“I’m pretty sure I can see lights.”
“You can always get off at the next exit and take Ridge.”
“Well, I’m going to be delayed.”
“Just turn on the news, take a deep breath, and enjoy the time.”
(In my head, “’News’ and ‘enjoy’ are generally not words I put together.”)
What I actually said, “See you in a while.”
6 hours and a quarter mile later, I reached the next exit. There had been a terrible crash—at least three cars totaled—which blocked the entire highway. We had to take the exit whether we wanted to or not.
The highway just north of the exit was fine. So we could get right back on. Except at that particular exist, there is no such thing as “right back on.” You have to go aaaaalllllll the way around the exit ramp, up two blocks this way, over a couple of blocks that way, across the overpass, and then take the long entrance ramp back to the highway. Lots of red lights. It took a while.
Still it was better than taking unfamiliar back roads.
My twenty minute drive home took about 45 minutes.
I hope no one was badly hurt in the crash.
I feel sorry for the officers who were standing out in the rain making sure the cars didn’t exceed the speed limit while they inched along.
I don’t know what caused the crash or what the circumstances leading up to it were. I do know that far too many accidents are caused by people texting, or rushing, or rushing and texting.
It’s not worth it.
Neither is trying to explain some things to the HusbandPerson.