Q How many fatalities have happened on Bear Creek Road in the Santa Cruz Mountains? I use it for our daily commute, and most of us are all business on the road. We drive close to the speed limit, not getting stupid by going too fast, pulling over to let faster people get by us and it’s fairly Zen in its way. You can’t really obsess over work or other crap because this skinny road and its tight curves demand all your attention.
A Not as many as I feared. Since 2007, there have been three deaths, about 75 injuries and 194 crashes on this road in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties. But you have many more scary tales to share.
Q Twice in the past few months, I’ve seen some flipping deleted fool go around cars on a very tight blind curve. I was second in a caterpillar chain behind a slow Dodge truck that refused to pull over to let us pass, and all of us behind him were getting testy. All of a sudden, some idiot behind me zoomed around me (successfully) and around the road boulder (almost successfully).
But then somebody came up the other side of the road, and the idiot somehow missed the opposing car, swerved back into our downhill lane, hit the truck, bounced off and into the side of the hill, and then back to our side and over the shoulder and down the hill out of sight.
The road boulder ended up facing uphill on the shoulder, the contents of his truck bed strewed over the road. I sat and shook for a minute, and then inched around the mess and went to work.
A And the other night …
Q It happened again, only I was the opposing uphill driver, and it was dark when I came around the corner to find headlights coming right at me! I jammed on my new brakes (got them done the day before) and swerved right, into the hillside. By some miracle of steering, I didn’t hit the hill (it was about 2-3 inches away from my right side) and the idiot didn’t hit me (another 2-3 inches, I think) and didn’t hit the large truck that had the right of way in the downhill lane. Who KNEW Bear Creek was three cars wide there!
A Melinda has been making this commute for less than three years. Here’s hoping her white-knuckle stories make other drivers slow down and behave.
Q Traffic along San Jose-Soquel Road is getting even scarier. The posted speed limit is 35-40 mph, but I drive at 45 mph to avoid road-rage incidents and tailgaters. Most commuters are going 50—55 mph and drive it like a speed rally.
If you are unfortunate enough to be driving near the speed limit, you get a conga line of impatient type-A drivers tailgating so closely that if one car stops unexpectedly, they will surely pile up into one single heap. When I get an impatient driver driving on my rear bumper at 50 mph (happens all the time), I’ll safely pull over when I can.
But there are no passing turnouts on this road. Frequently cars will pass on a blind turn. One day someone passed in a no-passing zone, narrowly missing an oncoming car coming out of a driveway. And there was the time a white BMW passed about 20 cars at a time going 60 mph in the oncoming lane.