~The car crossed the center line and headed right for me. There was nothing I could do but wait and see what happened next.~
I had a close call this morning. If you live in the Bloomington-Normal area, you’re probably familiar with Linden Street. It isn’t especially busy, and it’s a straight shot for me to work. I’ve taken it everyday for pretty much sixteen years. Most of it is a basic two-lane road, but it widens out to four lanes in the Illinois State University area.
This morning, I’m driving along, listening to WGLT (89.1 FM) like I always do. Some cars were heading towards me from the opposite direction, but this isn’t an unusual occurrence. All of a sudden, I noticed one of the oncoming cars start to cross the center line. Time slowed down as I watched it creep more and more over that line. Before I knew it, it was three-fourths in my lane and showing no signs of correcting course. The car crossed the center line and headed right for me. There was nothing I could do but wait and see what happened next. I hit my horn, hard, and got over to the edge of my lane as far as I could while applying my brakes. I continued pressing my horn. For a moment, I considered jumping the curb. At the last second, I saw the driver’s head whip up and then they veered back into their lane. I continued pushing my horn long after they were past me.
I got lucky.
In that moment, I realized that my morning could have gone very differently. While neither of us were going fast enough to likely cause any serious injury, you never know. It absolutely would have been a practical head-on collision, though. My car would have been seriously damaged. I would have been very late for work. I could have been hurt–maybe seriously.
My imagination works overtime, one of the perks of being a writer, so naturally my mind raced with all of the possibilities. I soon felt the adrenaline flowing through my body. I made myself calm down, told myself all’s well that ends well, but, even ten hours later, it still leaves me a little rattled.
It shook me up because there was literally nothing I could do but wait. I honked. I slowed way down, almost to a stop. Beyond that … nothing. Powerless. Accidents can happen that randomly, that quickly, that drastically.
Of course, it wouldn’t have been an accident. The other driver was clearly looking down at their phone. The collision would have been due to negligence, recklessness, and very likely a healthy amount of ignorance.
Oh, the other driver? I’m sure you’re assuming a teenager drove the errant vehicle, but that would be incorrect. I saw a head full of short, white hair. I don’t know if it was a man or a woman, but it was certainly an older person.
Please, please, please, whether your are old or young, man or woman, please stay off of your phones while driving.
(Did you enjoy this article? Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)