Saturday, February 7, 2015

I Could Have Killed That Police Officer. I Came That Close.

There's a relatively new law (where I live), that came into effect in 2010, which states you must slow down to 60km an hour, and pull over into the lane furthest away, if there is an emergency vehicle pulled off to the side of the road.

I get it.  

I understand why the law is there.

We're all trying to avoid causing another accident.

But sometimes, following this law can actually cause the accident, as I discovered the other day.

Since the weather was finally cooperating on Wednesday and the sun was shining, I decided to go for a small road trip to visit the Bestie.

The double-lane highway was surprisingly good the whole way.

I wasn't speeding.  In fact, I was keeping it at an even hundred, so I was a little bit under the limit.

But on these roads, after the weather we've had, you just never know when you're going to hit a small drift in the middle of the lane(s), or black ice that sends your tires into a spin and your car out of control.

So I was simply keeping up with everyone else, and even managed to pass when I could.

Passing was easy, as long as you watched for the clean stretches.  But like I said, every now and then you hit an unexpected snow/slush patch, so passing was only attempted when necessary (coming up behind someone who was painfully crawling along), and on a clean straight stretch.

I may be a woman driver, but contrary to the belief of some, that doesn't automatically mean I'm an idiot when it comes to driving.

I'm safe and I pay attention.

I was about 10 minutes from Truro when it happened. 

I had come up behind a cube van, and ahead of that was an 18 wheeler without the box on top.  It still had the long trailer part on the back, behind the cab, just no box.

I looked around the cube van and saw the passing lane was clear of snow and slush.


So I pulled out to pass.

I got past the cube van no problem, and since the passing lane was still good, I kept going.

I had just started to pass it. Was maybe three feet or so past the very end of the truck.

All of a sudden, without warning, he started coming over into my lane.

You know those moments, when something unbelievable is happening, and you're thinking ... 'WTF?  Is this really happening?!?!?'

Yeah, it was one of those moments.

I looked over and despite the fact I was yelling, 'STOP!', ' STOP!' ... yes, it was really happening. The 18 wheeler was coming into my lane.

He was going to drive straight into the front of my car!

Did he not see me?

What the hell was he doing?

I immediately let off the gas.

Here I was, driving along, minding my own business, and all of a sudden I'm faced with the decision of letting an 18 wheeler slam into me, or run me off the road into the ditch.

Those were my two choices at the moment.

Instead, I went with option number 3.  The WRONG one.

When I saw the truck was REALLY ready to hit me, I panicked.

I admit it.  I'm an idiot.  I panicked.

I hit the brakes to avoid the crash.

Unfortunately, I hit the brakes at the exact same moment I was going over a snow/slush covered patch in my lane.

I lost control.

Everything else happened in a matter of seconds.

The minute I hit the brakes, I fishtailed, spun out and turned sideways.

When I tried to regain control, I spun out again, and flew out behind the 18 wheeler, into the right hand lane where he had just come from.

When I slid out from behind the truck, I came face to face with a police car, in the middle of the lane, and the police officer standing NEXT TO THE CAR in the middle of the highway.

He was not pulled over safely to the side. He was right in the middle of the freakin' road!

My heart stopped.  Literally stopped beating, I know it. 

Here it was, a gorgeous sunny morning, about 10 am, all was right with my world, and now ... I'm about to smoke a police officer standing in the middle of the road.

What is happening right now?!?!??!!?

I panicked again.  Don't judge.  If you're about to slam into a person standing in the middle of the highway, with your out of control car, you'd panic, too!

I yanked the wheel back to the left and slid again.

There was one and only one thought going through my head.

'Please, God, don't let me hit him!'

I have no idea what that poor man thought, seeing a car coming straight at him (sort of), but out of control.

I didn't make it back into the passing lane completely, but by a few feet, it was enough.

When I yanked the wheel to the left, and the car turned and slid, I went by the police officer and his car ... sideways.

Yes, sideways.  

Might have been diagonally, but it wasn't straight.

My ass end was facing him on the way by, nose pointing at the ditch, and all I saw in that split second when I turned around, was his sunglasses, as his head turned to watch me slide by.

Another second later, and I hit the dry patch, regained control, moved over and fell in behind the 18 wheeler, who eventually pulled over to the right hand lane again.

The police officer didn't come after me, and no, I didn't stop.

There were still cars behind me, although the cube van had backed off when he saw me lose control, so I didn't want to take the chance of hitting the brakes to stop and lose it again.

I shook the rest of the way to Truro.

I probably should have pulled over for a minute, if nothing else, to stop shaking, but I just wanted to get to the Bestie's and get out of the car.

I made the pit stop at Tims, and when I finally got through her door, I said, 'OK, I'm going to have a little breakdown now.'

And I did.

I cried for what had almost happened.

I could have killed that police officer.  I came that close.

I realize now what happened.

There must have been an accident earlier in the morning and a tow truck had come to get a car involved. 

The tow truck was still on the highway, with the car on back, and I believe the police officer was where he was to warn the traffic of the tow truck up ahead.

I get it.

I know why he was there.

I now know the 18 wheeler didn't have any choice but to cut me off, or HE may have hit the officer.

But ... here's the part that bothers me.  The car was already on the back of the tow truck. WHY didn't they all pull off, safely, to the side of the road, at least?

All the stars and planets aligned to put that officer in the middle of the road, and the truck cut me off, and I hit the snow patch all at the same time.

I could have killed that police officer and it all would have happened in a heartbeat.

My life, his life, our families would have forever been changed.

But that's not how the story ended, after all.

Wasn't in the plans for that day.

I simply can't express how happy I am, that the stars and planets also aligned to make sure I slid by him, even if it was ass end sideways, instead of sliding INTO him.

I'm sure he's pretty happy things turned out the way they did, too.

I'm truly sorry Mr. Police Officer.  It wasn't my intention to scare the crap out of you that morning. Thank you for everything you do to keep us safe.

Hope he keeps a change of underwear in his car, just for days like those, and people like me!


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