Wednesday, May 27, 2015
So, wow. It’s been a long, long time.
This morning, on my way to work… a truck cut across 3 lanes in front of me. I swerved hard to miss him. It is amazing how much goes through your head when something like that happens. I knew I was going to die…
Keep in mind all of this happened in less than 2-3 seconds. I was in the far right lane going right to left in the picture. I have a small car and the road in that area has a slight upgrade to it. I saw the top of the delivery truck coming in the left most oncoming lane and it seemed oddly fast in its approach. Traffic for the light up to the left off the picture was backed up past the drive way entrance on the lower right. Like I said I was in the far right lane, no traffic, headed for the second entrance to go to the Sheetz gas station on the corner. I could see that the truck was not slowing. I glanced at the traffic sitting still and notice that everyone had left an opening for left turning traffic. For this massively large (compared to my little car) truck to turn… in front of me. What were they thinking, why isn’t he stopping… he’s not stopping. Oh shit, I’m fucked! I’m guessing I was doing 40. I saw the truck make the turn without slowing. I jumped on the brakes. There was a pickup coming out of the parking lot. I’m dead… this is it, I’m going to die. I swerved right-left-right and missed everyone.
[Dramatic pause for effect]
I was down to 20 mph. I looked back in the rearview mirror, after the longest 3 seconds of my life, before I entered the parking lot. The delivery truck had stopped. Its front tire was in the right wheel portion of what was my lane, his bumper was over the right edge of the lane.
I thought my heart was going to explode. Even now, as I type this, some 5 hours later, I can feel my heart starting to race.
In my mind’s eye, I saw the delivery truck hit me at the rear axle, spin me around into the curb maybe missing the stopped pick-up. I saw me flip upside down at the curb and land in the ditch. The whole thing seemed like a slow motion re-play. I had that series of thoughts and the whole thing was over. I was through it. I turned into the second driveway and parked at the gas station for about 20 minutes. I was shaking, my heart was pounding. I felt like my brain was rattling. Oddly enough not fast. I measured it on my phone app and it recorded 79 bpm. They were like heart explosions, it wasn’t racing, it was exploding. I could feel my heart pounding in my finger tips.
His bumper was over the right edge of MY lane. I doubt I swerved that much. It took him some time to see me, react and stop but OMG! I swear it was inches. I was inches from ending.
Be prepared, know your car - How does it react in high speed swerve situations? Under steer? Over steer? Does the ass-end break loose? If so, what do you do now? how do you react?
Situational awareness - see the things around you. I should have known the potential for that ‘gap-in-traffic someone-coming-through shenanigans’ was high given the traffic in the area. I probably should have slowed down.
Right now, at work, 5+ hours later, I’m not worth a shit. I can’t concentrate. I can’t stop thinking about those events. Hopefully writing this will let me release it. I’m guessing this is 1% of Iraq/Afghanistan vets PTSD. Ya’ll have my sympathy. This sucks!
at 1:55 PM