Two Near Misses
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Last Friday, I had two very narrow escapes from accidents. They frightened me a good deal. The first time, I was driving in the right lane on the highway. I wasn't speeding, just driving along minding my own business. There was a good bit of traffic, but nothing out of the ordinary, not rush hour or anything like that. All of a sudden I saw, off to my left, a car coming at me, very quickly. In a split second, I realized that it was going to sideswipe me, literally me, since it was coming on my side of the car.
I didn't have time to think - I just reacted. I pulled the steering wheel as hard as I could to the right. Too hard, in fact. The other car didn't hit me, but I lost control of my own car. I was fortunate that there was an off ramp right there, and even more fortunate that there were no cars on the ramp. Pulling the wheel to the right took me to the off ramp, but then the wheel spun back the other way, and I realized the car was out of control. I grabbed the wheel and tried to control it - the whole thing just took a few seconds, but they were the scariest seconds I can remember. I managed to get control of the car, and took it out of the off ramp and back on the highway. I was shaking for about an hour after that. If he had hit me, if there had been another car on the off ramp, if I hadn't been able to regain control of my car.... it could have been a horrific accident.
As if that weren't bad enough, later the same day, I had another near disaster. It was night, and I had been at a book discussion with some friends. I was on my way home, at maybe 10, 10:30. I was on a normally busy road, but it wasn't busy at that hour. I wasn't speeding; I never do at night. I was going maybe 35-40, and I was concentrating on the part of the road that was in my headlights, not what was off to the side. There were no other cars, so I was more or less on autopilot. All of a sudden, I saw a group of people to my left, literally trying to cross the road directly in front of my car. I saw them far too late to stop, so I kept going. I heard them yelling at me as I drove by. Thank God, I didn't hit anyone, but I so easily could have. They were within a few inches of my car. Once again, I started shaking. Then I got angry. What on earth possessed them to jaywalk, at night, right in front of the one single car on the road, with headlights on, at ten at night, wearing dark clothing (which they were)? Were they trying to get killed, trying to make an innocent driver into a killer?
I was telling the story to a friend later, and he said, it happens all the time. He lives off of the road I was driving on, and he said people jaywalk there at all hours of the day and night. I am still shaking my head. What is wrong with people like that? Next time I go home from that meeting, I will drive at 25 on that road and look to the side constantly. Forewarned is forearmed.