Saturday, October 25, 2014

Scary Happens Anytime, Anyplace

Here we are before the 'scary' holiday where mostly we laugh, eat candy, and ooh and ah over any costumes we might see, and love the candy, cider, and apples. However, this month's Round-Robin is about the 'scariest thing that has happened to you.' The truly scary stuff comes out of everyday life when you least expect it or unprepared. While we should be prepared when in a car, we all travel by car so much we become complacent, and driving can be boring. Which I suppose, is why so many of us are holding electronics while driving.

I've been in two serious automobile accidents with two totaled cars. I was carried away from one and walked away from the other. The first I don't remember at all and in the second I remember feeling very calm like maybe it was just my time. I believe it is the near misses that are the scariest, especially when you have your children with you and are not behind the wheel, which is the incident I remember as being heart-clenching, breath-stopping scary.

Our family was making a Christmas journey from our home in Missouri to see family in Michigan, and while there was snow and ice on the ground, the roads had been dry all the way. Bill decided to take I-55 north to catch I-80 up to I-94 into Michigan. I can't remember what I was doing in the passenger seat, or what our two kids were doing in the back seat, sleeping or reading maybe. As Bill took the ramp off I-55 onto I-80 I looked up as the car changed directions. The very long ramp was dry and our car was at least a quarter-mile behind a corvette. As te neared the I-80 merge lane the ramp curves, and as a clear view came into sight, the corvette accelerated and must have hit a patch of ice. It started spinning. I gasped, and my foot hit the break, which wasn't on the side where I sat.

The corvette came to a stop in the merge lane to I-80, but also partially into the right lane of I-80 facing westward toward oncoming I-80 traffic and in our car's direct path. Now on the icy patch ourselves, our car didn't have room to stop.

Bill veered the car to the right edge of the merge lane. The car hit more ice and snow and also twirled and slid onto the right lane of I-80, but we missed the corvette. Two semi-trailer trucks, one in each lane of I-80 were barreling down the road toward us. Bill backed down the road, hit the breaks, and we twirled a half circle into the correct direction, and he gunned the engine, accelerating the car to faster than the approaching trucks. The corvette driver finally moved, shooting his car across I-80 and onto the median just before the trucks reached him. Everything happened in just a few seconds, but everything also turned out okay. After several breath-catching moments of silence, a few comments on close calls, we continued safely to Michigan.

For such a brief situation, the less-than-a-minute experience has stuck in my memory. Bill's version of events is a bit different, as I'm sure our children's memories. I do know Bill's driving ability saved us. Why do so many wonderful, good, positive experiences disappear into synapse oblivion, while one so short should endure so long? Fear.

Click on the below links to read more about scariest experiences!

Heidi M. Thomas
Skye Taylor 
Anne Stenhouse 
A.J. Maguire 
Rachael Kosnski
Margaret Fieland
Geeta Kakade
Marci Baun 
Beverley Bateman
Victoria Chatham  
Diane Bator
Fiona McGier
Ginger Simpson


  1. Goodness, I can understand why you remember that, Robin. Really scary. Anne Stenhouse

  2. Having had a sales job that required me to drive a few hours per day, I can really empathize with this experience. It's terrifying when, as you say, something that we usually consider so mundane as driving, becomes a nightmare. I've had a few close calls, but none this scary.

    Our second son totaled his car during a snowstorm in Michigan on his way back for school after Christmas break during his freshman year. He hit some black ice, spun out, flew off the road and hit a highway sign that collapsed on top of his car, smashing in the back window. That was a scary middle-of-the-night call! Husband's cousin lived an hour away, but it took her over two hours to get to him. I've told her there will never be anything she could ask us that would be too big of a favor.

  3. How terrifying! Many years ago, I was driving from Los Angeles to Pasadena on 110. It's a narrow, old freeway. People, myself included, drive fast even though the speed limit is 55. I was on the stretch between Downtown LA and the I5. There is a concrete barrier between the opposing traffic lanes.

    Most likely because I was speeding and I was checking for cops, I glanced into my review mirror. A car was bearing down on me... fast. As I was going 70 (yes, I'll be honest), and the car was catching me like I was sitting still, they were way too fast.

    I'm not too sure what happened or how it happened, but one moment he was gaining on me, the next he had spun sideways and narrowly missed my bumper by a few inches. His car launched over the concrete barrier and crossed the three lanes on the other side, missing everyone.

    It happened so fast I think all of us were a little stunned. I just kept going.

    I'm glad you and your family were safe.


  4. Rhobin:
    I learned to drive in MI and feel for you.
    I remember well that first winter when all I did was slip, slide, hold on...and pray.
    Never was there a more frightened bride from India...or so I thought.

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments and sharing your own car terrors!

  6. That must have been truly terrifying!I'm so glad it turned out OK!

  7. Wow, how scary. Kudos to Bill for his quick thinking and great driving.