What's the worst that could have happened?

I was just driving back home, past the elementary school, when a red ball came bouncing across the street in front of me.

It wasn’t athletic equipment, like a basketball or a kickball. It was one of those plastic ones like you get at a supermarket; in fact, I think that’s where it did come from, because one of the local stores has a huge display of them. So it would be a resilient plastic with nothing inside of it.

The road is uneven, due to never-ending “repairs”, and the ball fetched up right where my left front wheel was going to be in about 1.5 seconds. What I pictured was the wheel meeting the ball, and instead of running over it, getting the ball wedged in the wheel well, preventing my wheel from turning, with disastrous results.

I slowed down a bit more, and when I got to the ball, my wheel gently nudged it, and it continued its progress across the street, coming to rest against the curb. No one came running out to claim it, AFAIK.

But it occurred to me afterwards that I might have done better to have plowed right through. Luckily, the car behind me slowed when I did, but I shudder to think that I might have caused one accident while trying to avoid another one. Would it really have gotten stuck under/in my car? Would the right front corner have been flung into the air, then come crashing down? Or would the ball simply have gone “pop”?

Contrary to what some former cow-orkers might say, I don’t make a habit of busting balls, and if I’d had to be the mean lady who ran over it, well, I’m not the one who let it roll out into the street in the first place. I just didn’t want to damage my car. Did I do the right thing?

If I saw a ball enter the street in front of me suddenly, I would probably slam on the brakes because I would be expecting to see a child following it.

If someone is following too closely to stop, it is their fault.

If that ball was 8" or more in diameter, I don’t see how it could affect the car. The rotation of the wheels would tend to bat it away, it’s too big to get into the wheel well, too big for the tire to roll onto it, and too light to really do anything.
Like bare, I’d be concerned about the kid, not the ball.

Okay. I did look for a kid, but as I said, no one was chasing it.

I have seen some pretty strange things caught in wheel wells. Around here, it is frequently rocks, but once I did see someone trying to get a big orange highway cone out of their smoking wheel well. I would think a ball would be destroyed before it would lock up your tire or cause any damage.

Am I the only one who wonders just why going around the eight-inch object was not an option? How narrow is this street?


“Sic transit gloria mundi. And Tuesday’s usually worse.” ~ Robert A. Heinlein ~

Well, depending how fast it happened, I would hearken back to my dear old pappy’s admonishment to me when I first got a license, “You will NEVER swerve to avoid anything but a human.” Swerving puts you in the position of possibly losing control and also possibly into the path of an oncoming car. He taught all his kids to brake hard, but never swerve.

Going around an object with plenty of room is OK, but jerking the wheel to avoid an imminent collision is not.

Trisk, that’s why. It was a narrow street, and again, I didn’t want to risk swerving into a kid. School was just letting out.

Hit a vollyball with a Honda Civic once. Rolled over it and spit it out. No damage to the car or the ball.