What is the closest you’ve ever come

What is the closest you’ve ever come to death or serious injury?  I got to think about that this morning as I had to take some extreme driving maneuvers to avoid a head on collision in my car today.

I was driving to work, thinking about what I would do if I saw someone’s stolen bike being ridden by someone else, when all of a sudden there is a car out of control heading straight at me in my lane.

The road I was driving on is a two lane with a single lane in the middle for turning.  A semi-truck coming in the opposite direction was getting ready to make a left turn (which luckily got my sensors up cause he would not have the time to make the turn before I got up to him) into a parking lot and was not using the middle lane so that he could make his turn a bit wider.   A car behind him decided to attempt to pass using the middle turning lane and almost made it but got clipped in the rear end by the truck.  This sent him careening and skidding out of control directly at me.  I didn’t have time to think I just yanked on the wheel to the left across all traffic and right into a driveway and narrowly avoided a car going 40 mph slamming right into me.

The only other time I can recall being so close to serious injury was my fault and also involved a car.  I was young and stupid and was trying to read a map while driving.  Something in the back of my mind told me to look up and just as I did I realized all the traffic in front of me had stopped.  I just had time to yank my car to the left and hope there wasn’t anyone coming up behind me in that lane.  I think if I had looked at that map for just a second longer I would have been hurting in a bad way.

So anyone else have any stories?  I’m still breathing a bit fast.

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  1. I have never been in a close call like that – but that sort of thing is why I am such a nervous driver!

    Glad you escaped untouched – too close for comfort, my friend.

    I hope your drive home is better:)

  2. Wow, frightening. Cars-r-coffins, eh? Glad you escaped this one unscathed.

    I’ve had a few close calls. The worst would have been a few years back in Stillwater… I pulled up to the four-way stop at Curve Crest and Stillwater Blvd (by Brine’s and Simonet’s and the such) at about 1:15 in the morning. I looked both ways more than once and — as it was the middle of the night and deserted — started forward without a further thought. As I hit the gas, I looked to my left, and a big pickup had come out of nowhere and was barreling right through the stop sign. I hit the brakes and stopped and the truck essentially tore the front of my little station wagon clean off.

    I was shaken up and I looked to see that he was stopping and then took a breath. When I looked back, the truck was speeding away. Never did find him.

    All I could think was that if I’d hit the gas a little harder or a little earlier, I would have been five feet further out into the intersection and he would have t-boned me on my side of the car… that still scares me right good.

    Anyway, glad you’re alive to tell the tale.

  3. Probably a dozen times, all of which are hazy. Driving is a serious task, and yet I don’t fear it nearly as much as I do slipping and falling in the shower. Many times I got an adrenaline rush when I was certain I wouldn’t die – go figure.

    Caution is good, but don’t overdo it! People who think they are being nice by stopping to let the Macalestar kids cross the street over by Snelling are asking to be rear-ended. (Someone did it again just last week; I noticed their bumper was already quite damaged)

  4. My boss and I just had this conversation the other morning. Not surprisingly our stories were all car related. His most memorable was locking the brakes on a GIANT Buick sedan while zoned out on Highway 2 somewhere in North Dakota (ND is a solid #2 on my list of states that can lull you into oblivion…I’ll reserve #1 until later this summer when I tackle Nebraska). My memories usually involve me driving far too fast and far too late at night on a road where the rumble strips would snap me awake at the last possible moment. Someone somewhere keeps giving me chances, and I’ve finally accepted that they’re not going to last and I should take my own safety seriously.

    I also managed to live through a bike wreck where I rode squarely into a culvert off a logging road. Fortunately I don’t remember much of that one between my front wheel dipping downward and stumbling through the emergency room doors with my broken helmet still on my head.

  5. My closest was when that stupid Semi side-swiped me when I was on my way up to visit Scott in March 2004 or so; it was a rain/sleet/slush night, and very poor visibility. I was driving slow, probably 55 in the 70 on I90 close to the Winona exit, and the semi passed me on the left, but decided he wanted to come back into my lane as his back wheel was at my driver’s side door. i slowed more, but he took my mirror off and spun me around; lucklily i was going slow enough to land (and stop) in the median flipped the wrong direction, and not upside down or otherwise into the oncoming traffic. I was still shaking when the cop and the tow truck were long gone and I was safe in Slim’s apartment (where scott was watching the cats) at around 3 a.m.

    Scott’s close call chilled me to the bone because it happened right after that fatality on Lake Street where the 15-year-old stole the car. Just that morning, probably almost the same time it was happening, i thought to myself how easily it could be any one of us … probably why i’m so obsessed lately with the fear something’s going to happen to scott.

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