Two nights ago, Matt and I almost died. I’m not exaggerating like I am known to do sometimes, I’m for real. We were celebrating our anniversary early and on the road between dinner and the movies. I had just hung up the phone with our babysitter, “Aw, she said the baby was…” and all of a sudden a car plowed into our lane aimlessly, not cutting us off so much as coming right into the side of us. In a split second Matt was swerving out of the way into the third lane which was luckily empty. For the next eternity, Matt worked to regain control of our car. The wheel seemed possessed by something else and the side tires tipped us precariously. In those 10 seconds I thought, “we’re going to die, we’re going to flip, Matt’s going to die.” And then it was over as fast as it had started. Matt won the battle and we were just another couple on the interstate on our way to the movies-a very shaken up couple, that is. As we passed the guy that forced us into such a frenzy, he was looking at us like what’s their problem? He had no clue, or if he did-he didn’t care. This incident got me thinking…
1. Rear view mirrors-Use them and also always look. I’d venture to guess that so many collisions are because people are just to lazy too throw a glance over their shoulders. Mirrors are great, but they don’t catch everything. Blind spots are surprisingly big and a glance over your shoulder could save a life. I’m not being dramatic-it’s true.
2. Cell phones-The guy that almost hit us was NOT on his cell phone, but had Matt been on his, I’m certain I would not be typing this blog. I used to be that girl who used jaunts in the car (long or short) to catch up on missed calls. But when a young mom in a nearby town died this winter leaving 3 kids and a husband behind, I began to wake up to the dangers of this practice (it wasn’t determined that she was on her phone-but she could’ve been). Not because of Oprah (lest she become any more puffed up) but because of our baby girl, we have stopped using our cell phones if we’re behind the wheel.
3. Fighting in the car-We’ve all done it. We’ve all had a fight with a spouse, sibling, parent, or friend in the car. Matt and I were not having a fight, on the contrary we were having a great night, BUT we have had fights in the car. I’ve thought about this before-what if we were having a fight and then had an accident? I don’t want my last conversation with him, to be one that is strained. Our near miss came out of the blue the other day and in seconds our lives could have been forever altered.
4. Speaking of last words-Um, I ashamed to admit that my last words may have been one expletive said three times consecutively. I never say this word in daily life, ever. But for some reason it’s the universal death or near death word. I said it when I was rear ended and then rear ended someone else while driving a 15 passenger van of teenagers from my youth group. My sister screamed it then followed it promptly with “He’s with the Lord!” when I told her my grandpa had died. The guy that accidentally threw me out of a golf cart and onto my head at youth camp screamed it repeatedly over my head before he knew I was ok. I wish I’d said something profound or cried out to God or something but nope just said a cuss word-way to make my Mama proud!
4. Speaking of my mom-Remember when your mom was so scared when you started driving and said “you’re taking your life into your hands every time you get behind the wheel?” I do. But do I take this seriously all the time? No. Driving is life and death stuff and I think it takes a close call to remember this. I will be hyper aware of my surroundings for life now (well at least until I forget how scary Monday night almost was-which I hope is for life). I used to make the kids in my youth group say a safety prayer every time we got in the 15 passenger. And it’s not a bad idea. Every car ride we put our lives at risk and we should handle driving like it’s something sacred.
5. Just one little word on teenagersThe guy that almost hit us was not a teenager, but I’ve thought for years that teenagers have zero business operating cars. My folks made each of us spend 500 supervised miles behind the wheel before we could drive alone. This took forever and made me really mad-but they were ingenious. I was an awful driver-and really stayed that way until I was about 25 (to those of you who knew me way back when-I know I scared you, Laurie, Brian A., Jeff Finn, Jay-I’ve gotten better really, I think my SUV made me better-haha). And when kids in my youth group got new cars-do you think I rode with them on their first spin? Do you think I took them up on the whole I can pick YOU up, thing? No way, I’m not stupid. Yeah WBC youth, I’m talking about you-you were awful drivers! So, here’s what I propose-let’s give kids their permits at 15 and reward them with licences at 19. It’s a great idea.
To wrap it up. There was a wreck in my city during the early part of rush hour this morning. Apparently a white van (who left the scene) forced a Honda civic into the median splitting it in half. Two other cars veered off the road to avoid it-one was completely burned and the other was scorched. We know of one fatality. It was sobering to say the least. This afternoon, I am grateful to still be here. I am grateful that I am not a widow, that we are both not recovering from horrible injuries and that our little girl at least for now, still has 2 parents. And I grieve the one who lost their life this morning-that fate could have easily been mine.