Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Death in the Rearview Mirror

I'm having truck trouble again. I went to visit Logan the other day and I pulled up to a redlight and as soon as I stopped I heard a very loud POP. I was hoping it was the coal truck behind me but as soon as I pulled out I knew I was in trouble and I was 60 miles from home. It sounds like something is dragging the ground and my brakes are not working right, so I went to find a mechanic. 2 guys I knew weren't home but another friend recommended someone else so I went to his shop.

He drove my truck around the block and came back and told me that some sort of spring to the brakes in the back was broken. He said it was expensive to fix and I asked him if I would be OK to drive home. He told me to use the brakes as little as possible and to drive slowly, so I set out for Charleston at 30mph on Corridor G. (a 4 lane highway)

I stayed on the berm as much as possible because it is just as dangerous to drive too slowly as it is to drive too fast. Unfortunately I reached a point on the highway that the berm was so rough that I had to get in the slow lane - still driving 30mph. I DID have my flashers on the whole way but apparently that didn't matter.

I looked into my rearview mirror to see a coal truck speeding toward me. He was still far enough away to slow down but coal trucks are infamous for not driving safely and I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach but I was still hoping he would slow down. He didn't.

I looked into the rearview mirror to see him hitting his brakes hard and I turned 6 shades of pale as I yelled out, "Jesus Christ!" I had to decide if I was going to stay in the lane or pull onto the berm but I knew as I watched the truck start to jackknife that his only hope was to go to the berm himself. I had to hold my ground as the truck quickly filled my rearview mirror and I watched my impending death coming straight at me.

At the last second he managed to swerve to the berm - narrowly missing the back of my truck as he did so and almost careening into the guardrail as he went past me at full speed. My fraction of a second of relief ended when I saw another truck speeding behind him who did not have the benefit of seeing me from a long distance and I didn't think he would be able to stop either. Fortunately he was able to swerve to the left into the other lane. As he went whizzing past me I saw yet a third truck barreling down my ass!

He had to swerve into the fast lane of the highway as well because he didn't know I was there either. In the space of less than 5 seconds I almost had 1 coal truck (who had plenty of time to slow down) and 2 semi trucks that had no idea I was there almost kill me.

Only by the grace of God am I alive.

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