We all have had at least one if not more, we all have had …the close call.

Photo by Jason Ludke

Photo by Jason Ludke

I almost got nailed today driving into work. I was this close.
At highway speeds I am on the 101. I’m doing everything right. Not on the phone, I’m not texting, nor eating. I’m not reaching for anything that dropped. I’m not messing with my ipod, or a CD. I am fully engaged in driving, and by so doing I see the 4 teenage boys up ahead, on the overpass. I have heard the stories, heck I have reported on the stories. Stories about how people throw things off of those overpasses. The littlest rock if it hits you, at best it is a multi-vehicle accident, and at worst a fatality.

I’m watching them, those teenage boys. Laughing with each other, punching each other on the arm. A couple of them looking, as they clutch the chain link fence –  they point at the vehicles as they drive under them, I’m watching. I’m also watching the truck in front of me, and the cars to the left and right…I’m watching. As the truck ahead of me and I approach- the boys group closer together. They are facing the freeway and looking down. Uh oh I think, here we go. They raise their arms their hands make fists…but wait, they don’t look angry, they aren’t throwing anything. They instead make the gesture to entice truck drivers to honk their horn. You know the one, it is as if you are pulling on a rope to make a big bell ring.

Ohhhh… is that all they are doing? How innocent. We almost had an accident for nothing. I feel relief surge through my brain and body. The truck in front of me brakes. I know he is looking up too. He brakes, nothing extreme…but braking nonetheless. I brake, nothing extreme but braking nonetheless. Phew, it’s ok. We’re okay. A close call! Turns out those boys aren’t doing anythi….. …..SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAACH!
I hear that sound. You know it, nothing else sounds quite like it – brakes locked, the “I’m gonna slam into you” sound. It goes right through you. Looking in my rearview mirror I see a huge Escalade trying to stop…I can see the smoke from the burning rubber, it’s fish tailing, screeeeaching. I’m in a little car. My daughter’s Corolla (she just left for Sweden, I like driving her car, it smells like her and I feel close to her though she is so far away). This is it, I think. I’m gonna be smashed between this big truck and the huge monster Escalade. All this thinking and feeling, and hearing, my senses on fire…all in seconds. And in that last nano-second, the fast lane has just barely an opening, I jerk the steering wheel left and barge in between the two cars. My front right fender just barely missing the truck in front of me. The Escalade makes it too, without impact, just inches left from slamming into the truck.
Everyone keeps moving forward increasing speed back up to 65 then up to 75 mph – as if nothing had happened. My heart is pounding, I know I am lucky. What would have happened had I been distracted?  I decide right then and there, I will keep my promise to my family – to not text and drive. And I pray that they keep that very same promise to me – to not text and drive.

So scary. Do you feel like sharing your close call?