I almost put this in the Pit, calling it “I’m going to die on the f*cking Southern California freeways” but opted against it. The adrenalin crash is draining that away.
I was driving on the 10, merging with the 210, freeways in SoCal. It’s one of those more dangerous mergings, where the lane I’m in gets absorbed with a lane in the other freeway. Even though traffic is light, some jerk in a Civic decides I’m not going to merge in front of him. He speeds up, and ends up parallel to my car in the same lane before cutting me off (with maybe a foot or two between my bumper and his, and his bumper and the car in front of him!). I brake and then swerve left to get around him–and a Nissan Pathfinder I didn’t see in that lane swerves around me. (I jerk back to the other lane.)
I see the Pathfinder in my side mirror fishtailing before disappearing from sight…in my rearview I see that it’d f*cking rolled and my heart about stopped. I didn’t know what to do at first, then realized I had to pull over. I pulled over to the shoulder and ran down to him and freaked when I saw the damage and couldn’t see him inside. Other witnesses had already helped him out, and amazingly, he was fine–just a cut and scrape on an elbow.
He talked about the Civic, and then swerving around the truck…I mentioned I was the truck, and this guy who’d just rolled his car is comforting ME saying it wasn’t my fault, “it was that damn Civic!” (I have asthma, and I ran a long way to the crash site…I was wheezing and panting, so I probably sounded hysterical.)
The police arrived and got all the statements. I talked to two different officers, and the second one actually scared me a little. I tried explaining swerving around the Civic from the merging lane (lane 4), and he said, “Wait a sec, I’ve got witnesses telling me they saw you merge from the 3 to 2 lane.” Eep! But I told him that was after…after I saw what happened, I merged from 4 all the way to the 1, and then shoulder, so I could stop and check on him. Then other cops joined in and either he saw something in the paperwork another cop had or just believed me, because his tone totally changed. He thanked me for stopping and making sure the other guy was okay, and asked for as much a description of the Civic as I could give (not much…just a late 90s model, and a dark color). Then later I heard him telling other cops “We’re just going to put her down as a witness.” That was a relief to hear, but even though the cops say I’m not at fault, and even though the guy who rolled said I’m not at fault, I’m still pretty damn freaked out and find myself second guessing what happened.
I’m still shaking now, some near 3 hours later. It was just a horrible, horrible thing to see.