I've found myself stopped in traffic many times. Here on a major highway, we all came to a stop for no reason we could see. We were too far back from the action to know what was going on. It's frustrating when you have someplace to be and you're going nowhere fast. All those car commercial claims declaring that one vehicle or another will go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye are worthless in this situation. A few cars manage to get turned around, travel back up the shoulder and exit the wrong way up a nearby ramp, risking another wreck or ticketing if the police come by.
People get out of their cars. People do what people do. They stand up in open door frames, trying to get a better view of what has happened. Several head off toward the roadside shrubbery, apparently very interested suddenly in local flora (hey, when you gotta go ...). One gallant man brought an umbrella with him so his lady could have some privacy when she took her turn in the shrubs. But mostly we waited.
Then the police do start to show up, riding up the shoulder in a hurry, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Along with them came fire and rescue units. We began to understand that something bad had really taken place. Shortly thereafter the thump of helicopters overhead was heard. One was a news chopper from a local station. Two others were medivac helicopters from hospitals. We became quiet and solemn indeed, realizing a truly terrible wreck must have occurred. Matters of life and death filled our minds. Prayers for whomever was involved were sent up. After forty minutes, once helicopters and several fire engines had moved off, we started to move slowly forward. We were funneled left to avoid the wreck. It had been bad. One car was a charred skeleton of its former self. We went by solemnly, silently, and drove carefully onward, mindful of each other and of life's fragility.