Mar 10, 2015

Near Death Experience

I have this really vivid memory of driving back to South Bend from Angola one time. I made the trip a few times during my college years to visit and hang out with Ryan at Tri-State where he was attending. It was late at night and the highway was pretty much empty. I was on the part of the road which was divided and I saw an animal ahead of me crossing from the center. It might have been a dog or maybe a coyote or maybe a deer. I was in the left most lane and since the animal was moving left to right I decided to gently shift to the left a little bit to avoid hitting it. Nothing unusual, I went probably half way into the center shoulder and passed the animal with no problem.

Then as I came back into the left lane I suddenly started to realize that the rear of the car was sliding towards the center and I was starting to rotate. It was a very strange and unnatural feeling. When traveling at a high speed down the highway you get used to the feeling of moving forward so when I felt that the entire car is rotating and yet still moving in the same direction it was very strange. If the roads were snowy or icy I might have expected this but the roads were dry. I think it may have been a combination of my making too quick of a reaction and the increased amount of gravel and debris in the center of the road that caused this to happen.

So there I am in my car sliding sideways down the road. One of the things that really stood out to me about that situation was the crazy loud and scary noise my tires made. I also remember that things really seemed to slow down. It was like I was in slow motion. Not me I guess but like the world was passing slowly and I was still comprehending things at a normal or maybe faster speed. As I was sliding sideways I considered that the car would probably gain traction and I would drive straight off the edge of the road which at this particular area would have probably been fatal. There was a large steep slope off the side of the road and I thought at any second I would starting moving towards it. I had time during this incident to consider that I was probably about to die and I actually remember thinking to myself that I was ready. I was happy with my life. I also remember that I was a bit afraid that it might be really painful. I hoped it would be over quickly. Then I had the idea that instead of just waiting for the car to plunge off the road maybe I should try to turn the wheel back the other direction. The car did begin to move towards the outside lane and the edge of the road but it rotated and swung a full 180 degrees so that I was now sliding sideways in the outside shoulder with the car facing towards the concrete center wall. I had a similar thought that now I would smash into the wall. I don't remember how long I slid down the road or how many times I continued to fishtail back and forth. The car eventually slowed down enough that I just stopped in the right hand lane facing forward. I sat there for a little bit in a state of shock. Then once I realized that I was okay and my car hadn't even actually hit anything I continued driving the rest of the way home without incident.

1 comment:

  1. I never knew that story. It's amazing the things that go through your mind, and how your body reacts.