Every driver goes through the three stages of being stuck in unexpected bumper-to-bumper traffic on the way to work: denial, anger, and then concern as the wait gets longer and the chances of something serious having happened rises. That was my exact experience this morning when I found myself in the middle of the worst traffic I had ever experienced on route 9W between Marlboro and Highland, NY. Unfortunately there was a very real, and very serious reason behind the massive delay.

Car after car decided to make a U-turn instead of waiting in this massive line of traffic outside of Marlboro, NY (Jonah)
Car after car decided to make a U-turn instead of waiting in this massive line of traffic outside of Marlboro, NY (Jonah)
loading...

My first emotion was denial. "There's no way this is legit", I thought. "This will clear up any second". As I rounded the bend, however, and saw the line of cars continuing all the way up the hill as the road widened into two lanes, I knew that whatever problem lay ahead, it was going to cause major delays. There wasn't much time for anger, because that fact that the northbound traffic I was stuck in was at a standstill, and there was zero traffic coming southbound, I assumed whatever the issue was, it was major. I got that confirmation minutes later, when a tow truck drove by with its lights flashing and with what looked like a burned-out car on the back.

From the looks of it, this car's engine caught fire (Jonah)
From the looks of it, this car's engine caught fire (Jonah)
loading...

Forgive my amateur photography skills above, but I tried to snap this shot as the truck drove by. As you can (barely) see, the front-end of the car looks to be blackened from smoke and fire, with the discoloration spreading back to the passenger-side door handle. Soon after the tow truck passed, so did numerous emergency vehicles from the town of Marlborough.

(Jonah)
Once the emergency vehicles passed by, traffic started to loosen up (Jonah)
loading...

SUVs from the Marlborough Fire District drove by, as did multiple fire trucks.

(Jonah)
(Jonah)
loading...

After the tow truck and emergency vehicles passed by, traffic started to loosen up, and when I drove past Hudson Bluff Drive, although there was no more car or first responder vehicles left, I could make out a charred patch of grass that looked like the spot where a car could have caught fire. Multiple subsequent traffic reports on WRRV confirmed the incident. No news if anyone was hurt, but on a positive note, I saw no ambulances heading towards or leaving the scene.

I used the experience as a reminder that although no one likes being stuck in traffic, especially for as long as the group of cars I was waiting with was, unfortunately, it usually means someone is having a way worse day than we are, and it's best to practice compassion, as well as gratitude, that we aren't the reason that traffic was stopped.

'Unacceptable' New York Roads Costing Drivers Insane Amount of Money

A study found a shocking amount of "unacceptable" roads in New York are costing residents a ton of money each year. The good news, that may change. Here's why.

10 Hudson Valley Drivers You Encounter Daily

Be honest, which of these distracted drivers are you?