Failure to act

This morning on the way home from Confession, I looked across the divided highway and saw a very large piece of tire in the middle of the road. I debated about whether to turn around somehow and go back and remove it so that no one would be harmed, but I kept driving on. Now, I know this is not a mortal sin–it was not my tire nor do I desire anyone to be harmed. However, suppose someone is harmed b/c I failed to go back and remove the piece of tire–would God hold me accountable? Suppose everyone drives by it and then tonight in the dark someone drives right over/into it?

Short answer: no.

You are talking about a divided highway. By nature, speeds are higher and traffic is busier than on local roads. It would be absolutely foolish to take it upon yourself to move that tire in the circumstances you described.

Having said that, it would have probably been prudent to call the police non-emergency line (around here that is #77 but it may be different where you live) to let them know of the road hazard. But, regardless…

I know someone who did what she thought to be right.
She didn’t make it.

You are to be commended for wanting to do the right thing. Mark is right. This is where cell phones have a wonderful purpose.

I am glad you are safe.

Don’t know about US way to handle these kind of things but here in Finland it is best to not run around on a busy highway because a) you can become a road-kill and b) maybe cause a serious accident, maybe fatal, when other cars try to avoid hitting you. Only if you are sure that there is no or very little, traffic you can go and remove what ever is on the road. And as a former lorry-driver, (now retired) only a big piece of a tire may do harm if it hit someones windscreen. So, you did not do anything wrong, what you did was the best solution. It is always possible to call the police, they may be close to this place.

…and if a us highway is the same as a european motorway you would be breaking the law if you stopped. You cannot stop on a motorway except in an emergency, and for emergencies they have dedicated telephones at intervals along the motorway roadside.

Dearest Veronica, This is your suffering from being Scrupulous causing you this great concern.

No, you should not stop and walk out into heavy traffic on a highway to move a heavy object. Trying to roll or drag a large piece of broken tire would be hard to do in an empty parking lot. Add high flowing, multiple lane, fast moving cars - you might even get a ticket for causing problems or be killed.

The shoulder of a highway is for those in an emergency to have a place to stop, not a parking area for a driver while she cleans the highway.

Highways are often places of large items littering the road - tires, items that have fallen from vehicles, dead animals.

Highways are monitored for road hazards. The proper government agency will send a team to remove the item in a safe manner - proper equipment, safety cones, flashing warning sign on the back of their truck if needed.

You should never attempt to “clear a road of hazards”.

You have no obligation to do anything - not even report it. However, if you want to - you can call the city non-emergency number once you are no longer driving. You can tell them where the object is located. If it is not their property - as in a state highway - they can get the information to the right department.

When driving, you are obligated to keep your focus on your driving, not on cleaning up a roadway.

Before dark tonight, the Highway Patrol, the State Police, the Public Works Department, or another competent authority will take care of it. It is their job, and they can do it safely.

Yep–and they put on their emergency lights to warn/slow oncoming traffic, too.

Mostly the same here in the U.S., depending on the roadway. Some are ‘emergency stopping only’ but that’s only in certain heavily traveled areas or where there is a change in the traffic pattern. Other highway/motorway roads are less strict.

Our toll road in Pennsylvania (the Turnpike) used to have phone boxes spaced at one mile intervals, but the expense of the system (several hundred thousand $$ per year) could no longer be justified in the age of cell phones. (I think they were removed–there was talk of doing it, but it’s been a while since I’ve looked to see if they’re still there.)

Thanks, everyone. :slight_smile: Believe it or not, I don’t have a cell phone. It was a county highway in the midwest, but still…it probably was the best decision to drive on. Surely, someone with a cell phone will call the sherrif’s department or surely the sherrif’s department will patrol the highway at some point today.

[size=3]If you want to, you can call the county sheriff’s department from home now.


Absolutely not.

You could easily get yourself killed, others killed, or create one heck of an incident.

Civilians are not equipped or trained to deal safely with these types of hazards in those conditions.

You say you couldn’t make a call but be assured someone else called that hazard in.

Sarah x :slight_smile:


I just read something in a book that you might be able to apply to your life.

It is from "A Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning by Simcha Fisher

God didn’t give us free will as some kind of elaborate game of “gotcha,” where we stumble around in the dark while He kicks back and giggles at how silly we all look, bumping into walls. If you think God is like that, then you haven’t talked to Him lately. Or looked at a crucifix.

We have to remember that God wants us in heaven.

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