Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Life Lessons: Take Care on the Roads - And Always Pay Attention

Yesterday was a regular day. I got up with the boys, got them off to school & sitter, and headed out to visit my Grandma with the baby. I have been wanting to get to see her for a couple of weeks and I finally had a quiet day to do so. I packed several shades of nail polish to give her a manicure, and had the camera ready for photos of her with little one. It was a going to be a wonderful day. But it *almost* wasn't...

I stopped to fill up at a local gas station. I checked on little one, and then got on the road (the drive takes nearly an hour). With the radio on and my coffee in hand, I started out to enjoy some quality time with Grandma. Just to set the scene for everyone, I was taking off on a two lane road and into the middle of no where.

I was driving along, following behind a white - some kind of Toyota- when I noticed a fuel truck swerved almost into the car in front of me. I was slowing down and watching, as there was quite a gap between my vehicle and the one in front of me.  As I was watching, the fuel truck was swerving farther and farther over until it was in the middle of my lane. I couldn't believe my eyes. 

The next part is still kind of foggy. I remember jerking the wheel to the right as I felt the pull from the truck passing me so closely. It seriously pulled my vehicle. As the truck passed, I just remember looking in the rear view mirror and noting that the truck was still all over the road as it disappeared over the hill behind me.

It took a minute or two for me to take this event in. It also took a minute or two after that to realize that the window of my van was now at eye level with the road!! I was in the ditch. This is when the absolute panic set in and I think I went numb. My arms didn't feel like my own and all I could think about was how I was going to get to the baby!  I fumbled the seatbelt to get unbuckled and crawled back to my precious baby. He was just sitting there. He was asleep. He was fine. He didn't feel a thing.

I called 911. At first I didn't even know what to say. "Umm.. Hi. SO this truck just swerved at me". 

Anyway, the woman on the line prompted me and asked a lot of questions. Description of the vehicle? Well, it was a fuel truck. Did you note the licence plate number? No. I was trying not to die. Anything remarkable about the truck? Well, it was a fuel truck and it was grey, or dark blue, something like that. There were orange stripes.. or letters. I'm not really sure. What direction was the truck headed? Umm.. Toward the highway. I am headed away. Or I was. But now I'm in the ditch. What's the nearest crossroad? I don't know. I am somewhere between that gas station and this lake. Do you need police or a tow truck? I'm not sure. I think I'm ok. It looks like I could drive out. I don't know. Ma'am, I am glad that you called. I will be sending someone out right away and hopefully we can stop this truck before it kills someone. Are you okay?

I thanked this woman for entertaining my vague call and I decided I really was okay. She was encouraging that the information I was able to give was great and that, because of the area I was driving in, it shouldn't be hard to find him. After all, how many fuel trucks would be driving this road right now. 

I was able to drive out of the ditch (thank goodness!) and looks like there wasn't any damage! Phew. I sat for a while on the side of that road and then I got up the courage to continue on my trip. This regular day. This special visit with my grandma. And it all could have changed. I don't think I've ever had anything close to this kind of life-flash-before-my-eyes experience. 

So today I just wanted to share this in hopes that you'll be more aware. I'd like to encourage everyone to pay even more attention when driving. That situation could have ended so so so so much worse if I hadn't been paying attention. And even so, I didn't even think to use the horn when I saw this happening in front of me. And maybe if I had been thinking just a little quicker I could have gotten off the road before he passed me. 

I'm thankful today. And I will pay even more attention from now on when driving. I remember when I was learning to drive, my parents often used the line, "It's not you we worry about, it's the other drivers". I don't think I ever fully appreciated that point until yesterday. And you bet that one day, I'm going to repeat that to my kids over & over when they're out on the road.

Here's a photo from the wonderful visit we had. We even got time for that manicure.

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