There are times in life when you wonder if somebody is looking out for you.
Things happen so fast … so sudden, that everything can end in an instant. Everything. Or something can happen that reminds you how fragile life is.
Such as this past Saturday night (Sunday morning).
On the flip side of this situation – you wonder what happened. Why did something come so close to changing lives in a fast instant? What caused it?
Let me explain.
We were coming back from a baseball weekend. It was late as we saw a night game in Allentown. It was a little past midnight and we were coming out of Hancock, a small town in Delaware County in Upstate New York. The town also intersects with Route 17/Interstate 86 (not sure what it’s called in that area), and we were coming up on the off-ramp, which is close to where we were going to be turning.
See the image below via GoogleMaps to give you an overall view of the area of which I am writing about:
As we approached the bridge area that crosses Cadosa Creek, we were driving going up if you are looking on the map.
In a moment, it got very scary as a white Jeep Cherokee was coming the opposite way – at a pretty good speed. Something happened as the Jeep didn’t hold its line on the road. See below via the white line as to what the Jeep did:
As you can see, the white Jeep came over the yellow line and well into our lane. Though it’s not like we missed him by mere inches, the reality is you only have a millisecond to react. I wasn’t driving on this night, so I give Marc some serious credit to his reactions.
The black line on the diagram is basically what we did. He hit the brakes and tried to get over as far as he could on the side (there wasn’t much room as, again, you can see the bridge).
The options were to do that, or to try and correct and go into the other side of the road. But if the Jeep corrects, then we’re going head-to-head in that regard. There’s really not a lot that one can do in this situation, so I thought the brake job actually might have been the best (after knowing, of course, what happened).
Braking slows us down, thus also minimalizing the speed of impact, if something happened. Though when the Jeep went by us, it seemed to be in the 60-65 range, so we would have collided, at a minimum, of a good 80-85 miles an hour as I’m not sure how slow we were down to.
In the end, the Jeep corrected, got back into its lane and went by us. I’d say the Jeep corrected by about three or four car lengths – give or take – and went on its way and we went on ours.
It wasn’t without some fear and “holy shit” moments.
You know how they say when something crazy happens, life flashes before your eyes? I won’t say that happened, but a lot crossed my mind in the 3-5 seconds that this all transpired. Thankfully, not everything went flashing by as we missed one another without any damage other than a racing heart beat and some deep breaths.
Incidents like this really do make you realize life is fragile. Though I’m sure we’ve all encountered something that was a little too close for comfort, sometimes you just look back at something and wonder how you walked out of it so safely when it looked like it was going to be so bad.
I don’t downplay life, but I don’t have kids and am not married. The fast-acting driver I was with the other night is and does, so it’s uber scary in his position. It’s safe to say that we were both shaking a little after the incident, but I’m sure he was a little more than I was.
It makes you think, too.
Again, I have no idea what happened with this other person or why he was that far over into our lane. But I’m sure there have been times I’ve been driving and have been tired and might have drifted. I work to wake myself up and move on. This makes me realize that if I am feeling tired, I need to stop, stretch, wake up. The other things I think I’ve done well – as in I don’t drink and drive, and I’ve slowed down a bit when driving as I’ve aged.
This also makes me remember how fragile life is. Don’t take things for granted. Express yourself the best you can. Smile. Breathe. Life isn’t bad. It may not always be perfect, but it’s not a bad thing to be alive these days. So take a moment to say hi to friends – new and old – and family and make sure you keep in touch the best you can.
Life shouldn’t be taken for granted — ever.
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