Today, just a few miles from my house on Hwy 81 going towards Stuttgart (Germany) there was a bad accident which resulted in two deaths. The traffic was backed up for miles, so I returned home to take the kids to school on the train.
A friend emailed me the news story and according to witnesses, this driver (an 82 year old man and his 75 year old wife) went 14 km (about 7 miles) on the wrong side of the road brushing by five cars. A phone call was made to the police, but the police were too late. The elderly man got on the interstate… crashed into another car; killing himself and a 40 year old man (who was in the back seat).
The reason of WHY this man did this are unknown. One theory, is that he was trying to commit suicide. Wanting to know more this topic, I did some research on the internet. This type of suicide on the highways is most often caused by driving on the wrong side of the road. This is rare, but does happen. It is known to be a suicide when there is a suicide note, verbal threats before hand of wanting to commit suicide, or previous attempts to commit suicide.
It is estimated that there are more suicides by vehicle accident than can be known. These are just recorded as an “accident”. If you are a doctor, nurse, social worker, or chaplain working in a hospital ER it is very important to consider this if you have a patient who was in an accident going the wrong way…..
Take the time to talk to your patient. Communicate empathy and safety, but ask if that patient was trying to hurt him or herself. This can begin a process of the patient receiving professional help. You might just help save a life.