When I heard about the accident on 24 (the one that took the little girl's life) my initial reaction was:
That's such a dangerous road.
Route 24 is a stretch of asphalt I am intimately acquainted with, as it represents one quarter of my daily commute. I travel 13 miles southbound to get to work; the same northbound for my ride home.
Taken on the whole, it is a pretty innocuous bit of road. Three lanes wide in each direction - for the part that I travel. At its widest, a grassy median separates northbound from southbound. At its narrowest, a guardrail. The road is well paved, with not too many dings, divots, or potholes. It is pretty straight - only the gentlest curves are present - and stretches on, on, for most, at an even grade. There are standard cloverleaf style on- and off-ramps typical of this area, and no pedestrian crossings. Trees line both sides, and a generous breakdown lane is often present.
There are no perils on this road - no obstacles to avoid, no swinging pendulums to time passage through. No sinkholes, no rivers of lava. Nothing jumps out at you (save for the occasional animal, but that is unfortunately par for the course in New England). So what is it about this road that makes it so dangerous? I've seen plenty of accidents on Route 128 - a similarly constructed, second fourth of my commute - but I've never been tempted to think "That road is so dangerous".
And the dangerousness of 24 is obvious - from what is left behind. Skid marks are left like scars on the pavement. Portions of guardrails are bruised and bent from previous impact. Thickets found on the side have been crushed under the weight of heavy steel. There is a 500 foot stretch I cover on my return trip that is absolutely littered with rubber on pavement. Every single mark - skid ...tire track- has been outlined in orange spray paint, as, undoubtedly, the accident reconstructionists had tried to piece together what had happened on that stretch of road.
And, once again, as I pulled on to 24 tonight to go home, I noticed the familiar flash on blue lights about a half mile ahead. Traffic slowed to a crawl past a multi-car crash on the southbound side, and I wonder:
When is this going to change?