By Jordan W. Charness
While on a family vacation in Ontario, Peter and his family loaded into their minivan, ready to continue their journey. To exit, Peter had to back up a hill and around a curve. Before backing up, Peter looked out the rear window and checked both side mirrors. He noticed that the right side of his lane ended with a drop off of about a half a metre into rocks below, and he certainly wanted to avoid going off the road. The left side however, seemed clear enough – at least in the fraction of a second that he spent looking at that side.
Peter put the car in Reverse and slowly backed up the lane. He got part way up the hill when he heard a crunching sound from the left side of his car accompanied by a shuddering of the van. He hit the brakes and then rolled slowly forward before coming to a stop to investigate.
He got out of his car and went to see what had happened. His car was fine; there were no dents and no scratches. He let out a sigh of relief and got back into his car. “Maybe you ought to see what you hit,” his wife suggested.
It turned out to be a good suggestion. He found, to his chagrin, that what he had hit turned out to be a brand-new pickup truck. It had an extended cab, with a back door and rear seats; it was a true premium vehicle. It also had a large dent in the door.
Peter looked around for the owner, but he or she was nowhere to be found. After waiting for a while, Peter decided to leave a note on the windshield with his name and coordinates. On second thought, he realized that he was in Ontario and wanted to be sure that he didn’t run afoul of any local laws. He called the police.
As it turned out there was no local police force in this small Ontario town. The Ontario Provincial Police had jurisdiction. When he called and explained what happened they told him to wait right where he was and they would send a police cruiser.
A few minutes later a very friendly OPP officer arrived. Peter went over and introduced himself and asked whether it had really been necessary for him to call the police. He wanted to know if it would have been sufficient to just leave a note on the other car’s windshield.