Hmm… This reminds me of a story of my own.
I still had my little Cavalier, so I must have been about 18–you know, the age when you’re at the pinnacle of your intelligence. The important thing to note about this car is that it had a bad oxygen sensor, so it idled at way too high a speed.
OK, so I had just finished up doing a brake job on my oh-so-powerful 2.0 liter piece of crap and had hopped in to test it out. This is the first time I did a brake job all by myself; cool huh? Start the car, press the brake pedal. Hmm… that’s odd, it goes down to the floor a lot easier than it used to. Not stopping to wonder why, I put the car in reverse. Those of you who have ever done a brake job know what happens next…
That’s right, there’s no pressure in the brake lines and my car idles at high RPM, so I go shooting in reverse as fast as little tires can carry me. And what do you suppose is sitting about 40 feet directly behind my car in the gravel portion of the driveway? Oh, just my brother’s '55 Chevy. Yep, a pretty much drop-dead gorgeous '55 Chevy. Out of pure instinct, I press harder on the brakes, but of course the pedal’s already to the floor and not doing any good. And as my brother (who was washing his car) screams at me, I have the presence of mind to throw the car into park. But since I’m off the cement and going slightly downhill on gravel, I skid into his car.
There are two reasons I am still alive today.
- Heavy steel bumpers made in 1955 fare pretty well when hit by cheap plastic 1984 bumpers.
- The bumpers on his car were really the only bad pieces on it and I only left a couple little red spots on it.
Fortunately I now remember to pump the brakes back up after putting my car back together…
The other story that came to mind is when a co-worker was following me somewhere, so I was checking the mirrors pretty much constantly to make sure I wasn’t losing him. As it happened, I was going about 45 mph and looked up to see the previously green light had changed to solid red. And here I am about, oh, 100 feet from the intersection. Brakes locked, tires smoking, I end up stopped in the middle. Well, might as well go right on through at that point. Fortunately it wasn’t a very busy road at that time of day, so all I did was wear my tires a bit. And I gave Nick something to smile about–“Nice stop back there.”
I’m not even going into the time I rode my bike down the ditch…