I had a very close call today and I’m still shaky from it (it’s been 6 hours). I was travelling on the Mass Pike during rush hour and heavy rain. I had been following the same car for over 20 minutes and I had been keeping at least 10 car lengths between us because the rain was so bad. I wanted to be sure I had plenty of room to stop if it became necessary. Eventually, it became necessary. There was an 18-wheeler in the breakdown lane so everyone in my lane started to slow down. No one wanted to risk hitting the driver. Well, we ended up coming to a complete stop.
My car was at the back of the pulled over truck with half my car behind the truck (to my right). I was sitting there waiting for the car in front of me to move and I just happened to glance in my rearview mirror. As I saw the bright red cab of a huge truck speeding toward me, I instinctively pulled forward as far as I could - so none of my car was behind the truck next to me. The truck behind me was going too fast to stop, he had to wrench his cab to the right, into the breakdown lane, to avoid hitting me. I saw the back of his (18-wheeler) start to slide into the left lane. He was about 1 foot away from hitting the broken down truck and about 6 inches from hitting me when he threw his cab into the breakdown lane.
If I hadn’t pulled forward, he would have hit me and the motion of his cab would have pushed me right into the still speeding left hand lane. I could have been killed by either him or the drivers in the other lane. Finally, the car in front of me started to move. I followed for about half a mile. I kept checking the mirror to see if the truck had pulled himself out from the breakdown lane and his almost jack-knife. Just as he got himself straight, I started freaking out. I was shaking so hard I could barely hold onto the steering wheel. I was crying too hard to see. I somehow got myself into the breakdown lane. The idiot in the truck didn’t even slow down. He zoomed past me just as I got into the breakdown lane. I somehow managed to calm myself enough to park the car and turn the hazards on.
I sat there for about 20 minutes just crying, shaking and smoking. At one point, a MassHighway guy stopped to see if I had car trouble. Through my crying and shaking I told him that I came close to death or serious injury and I was too nervous to drive. He said, “Oh, good to know you’re ok!” and he left.
I started driving home again when I thought I was calm enough. About 10 minutes later, another large truck zoomed past me and scared the crap out of me again. EVery time a truck passed me, I’d start to panic again. The remaining hour of my commute seemed to take 5 hours.
When I got home, I decided to take a nice long hot shower to help me relax. Bad move. The water made me think of heavy rain and I started hyperventilating again. My fiance (who drives almost the same commute I do, but was about 45 mintues behind me) came home in time to see me sitting in the shower, sobbing and gasping for breath. After I finally managed to get out of the shower, I told him what had happened. I was shaking and crying and smoking - all at the same time. He reminded me that I was alive and I didn’t even have a dent on my car so at least there was a bright side. But, all I could think of was, “Where’s the kaboom? There’s supposed to be an earth shattering kaboom.” My fiance has now decided that I am totally warped and I have a very sick sense of humor.
For the last 5 hours I keep seeing the big red cab screeching to a halt mere inches from me and I start shaking again. Then, I clearly hear Marvin the Martian in my head and it calms me down.
I’ve been wary of trucks and bad weather ever since I was 13 - when my mom, two sisters and I, along with our cat, were driving in Northern NY during a snow storm. We got hit by a 18-wheeler. Our Ford Tempo was trashed. I hit my head but didn’t actually get hurt. No one else had been hurt. But, ever since then, I’ve been afraid to share the road with large trucks. Today’s events just solidified my fears.
All in all, it was a pretty shitty night. Just to cap it off, one of my pets just died.