'Close Calls' - Short Stories
On this particular day, I was traveling home from work and entered the highway at a different entrance ramp. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, stop and go. I had three lanes to choose from. I tried to determine which lane was moving the fastest. I put on my left signal light and started to make my way to the center lane. For whatever reason I looked at my watch and thought to myself, Ah, whatís the hurry? Iíll just stay in this lane(rightmost lane). Not even 30 seconds later, I happen to look up in my rear view mirror at the traffic approaching the back of the pile up, but in particular I was looking at the last vehicle in the center lane where I originally planned to merge to. All of a sudden I heard a loud crash. An 18-wheeler rear-ended that same vehicle I would have been behind. The truck hit the car with so much force, that pieces of itís front hood shot out and over the roof of the car. Had I been behind that car, the truck would have had even less stopping distance. Do I believe in guardian angels? What do you think?
I was headed home on my motorcycle late one evening after meeting with my wife and some friends for dinner. It was dark and I normally try to avoid riding at night or in inclement weather. It was only about a half mile to my exit off the highway and I was traveling in the center lane and just pasted a bend in the road. There were no cars in front, or next to me on either side. Suddenly headlights appeared within 10 feet of me in my left rear view mirror, and then they swerved and were visible in my right rear view mirror Back and forth one more time they appeared in my rear view mirrors. For a split second I could not understand why the car just did not pass me on either side, as I was the only one in front of it. Finally I saw the lights swerve off the highway, up the center median embankment, striking a jersey barrier and rolling over several times before it stopped on itís roof in clouds of dirt and dust in the passing lane. I quickly pulled over, frantically pulling off my helmet, turned around to see other cars slamming on their breaks trying to avoid striking the overturned car. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I then headed toward my exit and spotted a state trooper who had pulled another car over. I told him what I had witnessed and asked him if I should return to the accident. In the mean time sirens were blaring as the fire department at that exit where heading for the crash scene. He told me to get back on the highway, use the emergency turn around (with his permission) and report to the responding trooper what had happened. A word of adviseÖDonít ever use the emergency turn around, at night and try to instantly merge into the traffic traveling 70MPH or more, even with the permission of a trooper, especially if you donít have a bike that will do 0 Ė 70mph in a few seconds. Fortunately the young man that was driving the car that overturned was not injured and the arresting officer told me that this stretch of highway is notorious for speeders who he has clocked in the past of speeds in excess of 100MPH. The driver claimed he did not see my taillights or me until he almost collided with me. The trooper asked me to start up my bike (brand new) and he verified that my taillight was working. He then advised me to add auxillary lighting so that I was more visible at night. YupÖmy guardian angel was riding shotgun with me that night.
Yet another close call, while
riding my motorcycle home from work.