Monday, September 27, 2010

I Survived A Chance Encounter With Death

I hate driving. This is a comment I make to myself almost every day. Obviously driving is necessary for me because I have no spouse, live alone, and depend on myself to get from point A to point B. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful I have the ability to drive; after all, my mother, who once loved to drive, is no longer able to do so and therefore I am without a doubt, thankful that I have the capability of driving. I just don’t really enjoy it. I don’t mind driving on the interstate where there’s not much traffic; but it’s the day to day driving that makes me crazy! Especially in Huntsville, the melting pot of people and cultures and driving styles. So, I guess really it’s not the driving so much as it’s the other drivers.

This past Saturday, I headed out to Hampton Cove to Roller Coasters, the roller rink, for Troy and Ashlyn’s birthday party (more on this later). The roads were wet and slick because we haven’t gotten any rain in I don’t know how long and I was going the speed limit and listening to Frank Sinatra on the stereo. I remember looking over to my left as I was approaching what was once the Hampton Cove selling office on Highway 431. It’s a white house that once looked really pleasant, but is now grown up and unkempt and for sale. I was thinking how someone really should clean it up and trim the shrubs and mow the lawn.

Right about that time, I ran off the shoulder of the road a little bit. I tend to hug the shoulder anyway and sometimes the car can get pulled off the shoulder a little. I’m sure this has happened to you before, right? As I went to correct the car and get back on the road, I lost total control. The car started spinning out of control in 360 degree circles across the two southbound lanes of Highway 431. The car then crossed the median (I think backwards) and I spun 360 degrees in the two northbound lanes. I went off the road backwards, plowed into a street sign (I think a speed limit sign), which jolted the car around and it finally stopped. I was on the side of the road of the northbound lane facing south.

I’m sure the spinning and craziness lasted all of about five to 10 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. These are the things that went through my mind:

1. Oh no, please no!
2. Is this really happening?
3. When is the spinning going to stop?
4. Is this really happening?
5. Please let the impact happen quickly!
6. When is the impact going to happen?
7. Oh no, I’m going into the other lane!
8. Is this really happening?
9. Please let the impact happen quickly!
10. Thank goodness I’m off the road!
11. When am I going to stop?
12. Is it really over?

All I could do was hold on to the steering wheel as tight as I could. I also hit the brakes. I don’t think either of these are the right thing to do. I actually have no idea what you are supposed to do in this situation, so I just went with my instinct, which was to hold the steering wheel straight and hit the brakes.

I really thought I was a goner, folks. My heart was pounding so fast when the car stopped and I really couldn’t believe that I didn’t hit anyone, that no one hit me, and that I was unscathed. I had my seat belt on, of course, and if I hadn’t, who knows what would have happened?

I got out of the car and two men had stopped in the median and came over to me. They asked if I was okay. I was. As soon as they reached me, I started crying. I was shaking uncontrollably as well. One of them told me to sit down, but the grass was wet and I was clean and didn’t really know where to sit. The older man noticed the damage P had done and thought it was from my stunt driving and I explained that no, my drunk neighbor had actually done that to my car last week. The younger guy looked under the car and said no fluids were leaking. He also said, “Man, what a ride!” You can say that again guy in the Pilsner T-shirt.

I had seen the older man not long before my journey into Hampton Cove. Before I went to the party, I went by Sonic to get a small cheeseburger and saw him walking to his car from Goldsmith Schiffman Field. I think I noticed him because he had on a nice Alabama polo. I asked him if he had just been down there and he said, “Yes, I was. I left a little early to come home and watch the game.” Jackie said, maybe he was my guardian angel.

Both men stayed with me until I was able to calm down a little a drive again. The only damage to my car was where I plowed down the street sign. There’s a little tear below my license plate – the picture is below. The older man told me to drive in the grass until I got to the driveway at the assisted living home which was maybe 50 yards away. He said that would be the best way to get back on the highway because there was a little incline to the highway where I had ended up.

I finally got up the courage to get behind the wheel and did as the man suggested. I thanked them over and over for staying with me and stopping. That’s one great thing about living in Alabama. I’m not sure people in other parts of the world do that sort of thing.

When I got back on the road I noticed a fire truck coming from Owens Cross Roads. It stopped in the median where the guys were and I guess they told them what had happened. So, I assume someone called 911.

I finally made it to the birthday party, a little shook up, but very happy to be alive. Some of my friends from church were at the roller rink too because of another birthday party. I told them the story and said, “God was definitely with me in that car!” To which my friend Candi replied, “You need one of those God is my Co-Pilot bumper stickers.”

I have no doubt God was watching over me Saturday. He kept me safe and spared my life because he’s got something else for me to accomplish here on earth. When I prayed I obviously thanked him for being there for me, even thought thank you didn’t seem like enough, and also asked him to help me figure out what it is that he left me here on earth to do.

It was a scary moment and I’m extremely thankful that no one, including myself was injured. Thanks to all of you who gave me comfort on Saturday and Sunday. I really have a great group of friends!

The only damage from my stunt driving

Closer view


Melissa said...

How scary!!! Glad you're ok! Your poor car needs some relief from all the abuse it's taken lately :)

Kimberly Washer said...

Oh my stars!! That is soooo scary!!!!! I'm so glad God still needs you on earth!! My dad has always told me that if I'm spinning to take my foot of the break and hands off the stirring wheel. I don't know if it's correct, but it's daddy's advice and the two times I have been faced with something like this that is what I did...I'm still here. Love you and I'm glad you are safe!