My Nearest Miss

In case I have doubted the extent to which luck has played a major role in my life, it was fully illustrated one sunny afternoon a couple of Novembers ago. It was also perhaps the most eerie, surreal thing that has ever happened to me – a description of which I’d like to share with you.

I was in lane two of the jammed, slow-and-go 101 Freeway, alone in my classic 30 year-old car, traveling at about 50 mph. A relatively safe four or five car-lengths behind the car ahead, I was attempting to move into the right-hand lane.

I very briefly glanced back and to that side, determined that I was clear, and began moving to the right. But when I refocused on the road ahead, the car in front was inches from mine, almost fully stopped.

To avoid colliding with it, while braking hard, I abruptly yanked the wheel even further. This caused me to swerve into the right-hand lane, then skid sideways, clear across it, onto the shoulder.

Still braking hard, and twisting the wheel to the left, to avoid sliding clear off the highway, I found myself totally out of control, crossing the first and second lanes diagonally, half-aimed at the oncoming cars, passing inches in front of the car I’d almost rear-ended, which was now accelerating. From there, trying to turn so that I’d be traveling in the proper direction — instead, I spun further. Now, at a full 180 degrees, I was directly facing heavy oncoming traffic as I skidded sideways across the remaining three lanes.

My car stopped, inches from the center-divider, half on the fast lane, half on the narrow shoulder, facing all of the vehicles!

All of it – without being hit!

To my further astonishment and relief, somehow, all of the cars in all the lanes had stopped. All of them side-by-side, forming a sort of straight-across barrier about eight feet ahead of me.

And I was without so much as a scratch on me, or on my car.

I was able, after a moment needed to steady myself, to make a U-turn in front of them, and cross back to the right-hand lane, where I continued, at a cautionary speed. And, for the next few miles, cars kept passing on my left, their drivers and/or passengers smiling and waving.

A truly one-of-a-kind event that I don’t care to repeat.

Ever, thankyouverymuch.