By on November 7, 2018

Image: 1997 Infiniti I30In a QOTD post last week, we opened up our memory banks and recalled the days of driver’s ed; the bumpy road we all took to become the car fans we are today. But the dangerous driving moments never end at the learner’s permit or license.

Today we want to know the closest call you’ve ever had.

The closest call your author’s ever had stands out above any other dangerous driving situations (thus far). I recalled it to a friend the other day, which is why we’re here right now. Probably the worst part of telling the story was that any crash would’ve been entirely my fault.

The year was circa 2007, the time was in the early evening, and the car was a 1997 Infiniti I30 (a fine car, by the way). Darkness was just beginning to fall as I approached a green light on US 50 in Indiana. I’d like to show you the intersection and how it looked at the time, but by 2008 (as old as Google Maps goes), it had been replaced with the ramp arrangement you see below. Coming to the intersection in the left lane, I was distracted by a view across the road.

Said view was of the old, closed-down Kroger where I used to work. It was where I parked my Audi 5000 so many times. The store had relocated shortly before, down the road a ways. But I had memories there, and they were enough to draw the eye. Realizing my eyes had drifted from the road, my vision snapped back forward — to see a nearly new (and hideous stepside) Toyota Tundra coming to a stop a few yards in front of me. That green light was apparently an old one, and must have turned red right the instant after I stopped looking. At the time, I’d guess I was traveling about 40 to 45 miles an hour.

Seemingly in slow motion, I gave a cursory glance over my right shoulder while jabbing my foot on the brakes. Seeing no car was there, I sawed at the wheel as the ABS pulsed under my foot in protest. The soft suspension prompted a nose dive to the left as I took the right lane, next to the Tundra. When the I30 came to a stop, its nose was level with that of the Tundra. Hands white knuckled on the big airbag wheel, I looked over slowly to the Tundra driver, who gave me a pretty perplexed “What the hell?” sort of look. Crash avoided. It would’ve been a serious one, to be sure.

Let’s hear about your closest call.

[Images: Nissan, Google Maps, Toyota]

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96 Comments on “QOTD: The Closest Call You’ve Ever Had?...”


  • avatar
    swaghole

    I almost bought a ford once. Does that count as a close call?

    I almost rear-end stopped cars at highway speed. I was coming back from work late in the evening and I didn’t notice that the traffic was completely stopped until way too late. I hit the brakes hard but it was clear I wasn’t going to stop on time. I was in the fast lane of a highway separated by a guardrail. I managed to swerve into the space between the guardrail and the left lane – it was just wide enough to squeeze in. I passed about 4 car lengths before coming to a stop. I didn’t hit any cars or guardrail and scared the crap out of the drivers as I skidded past them on the shoulder. I was a little shaken so I pulled off the highway a few minutes later to look around the car. I just couldn’t believe that I had been able to avoid a massive collision with the car and avoided slamming into the guardrail. That’s when I noticed a small plastic chunk had been torn out from the bottom edge of the driver side mirror. The mirror was still in place and functional. It was just missing the bottom outer edge – I guess I did make contact with the guardrail after all.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    10 years ago today I was in a very bad car wreck, a semi and I decided to mix it up on the Florida Turnpike, I have no memory of the event, just what eye-witnesses told me, but I’m still here with all my body parts still intact. I was wearing a seatbelt and driving a Lincoln Towncar which have a lot to do with me still being here

    Seatbelts, I strongly recommend them

  • avatar
    TimK

    Driving on US 90 in west Texas, a two-lane road with a speed limit of 85. Unbeknownst to me I entered a section with a sharp curve and a drop off of several hundred feet just past the shoulder. The pucker factor was off the scale.

  • avatar
    arach

    I applied really late to college, and was accepted to the school I wanted to go to. I paid half attention to my future, and my mom called them at 8 AM on saturday on scholarship day to ask when my scholarship interview was. They said it was at 10 am.

    Now this is fine if your going to a college that is in town, but this school was 1 hour and 52 minutes away, leaving me about 5 minutes to spare.

    So my mom tells me to “hurry and go”, and I grab my stuff and jump in my car, flying up the highway at excessive speeds. That is all fine and dandy until it starts to SNOW.

    So here I am SPEEDING, IN SNOW, on the HIGHWAY, and I’m a TEEN IDIOT DRIVER in a SPORTS CAR with SUMMER TIRES.

    The snow is building up and I saw an overturned truck and some other cars that were running into trouble, but I don’t stop. At about 9:10 am on a Saturday, I start to lose traction and go into a spin. 80 MPH + Spin + summer tires = a nice holiday Dreidel… Spinning, and Spinning, and Spinning. I didn’t just spin in my lane, I spun all the way THROUGH the grass in the median and onto the highway going in the opposite direction…

    I reaffirmed my faith that day because I75 is never empty, but for a split 30 seconds, the opposing lane was totally empty as I came to a rest, facing the wrong direction on the fast lane of the highway. I could see some trucks barreling towards me in the distance, and I got my car restarted, turned around, and off the onramp to give myself a second to breath before I had to get back on the highway and get back on my way.

    I’m lucky I survived that day, and I somehow ended up getting a great scholarship at that scholarship day… And I had a really good lesson in tires, traction, and not being an idiot.

  • avatar

    Drove home from work one day. Open highway, opened it up a bit…….ok, more than “a bit”.

    Parked car at home. Got back in later, put car in Reverse, back up driveway.

    Driver’s side rear wheel falls off….clunk. Car is immobile, flat bed drags it out of driveway.

    Turns out there’s a hairline crack in the rear swingarm, which finally snaps backing out of driveway. I can only imagine if it snapped on that 4-5 redline shift on the highway an hour earlier……

  • avatar
    GTL

    I was pulling my father’s tractor on a trailer using my ’88 F150 on a fairly busy 2 lane road when a car ran a stop sign in front of the car in front of me. He slammed on his brakes, and I stood on my brake pedal. Immediately a number of scenarios flashed through my mind; I’ll never get stopped in time, that trailer is going to fishtail and end up in front of me and probably flip, no escape route with a deep ditch on my right and cars headed towards me in the other lane, the trailer tie downs won’t hold and the tractor will end up in my truck bed.

    Well, despite the trailer having no brakes, it stayed properly behind me, the tie downs held, and I came to a stop about 2 inches behind the Camry in front of me, my heart pounding with adrenaline. Thank good tires and anti-lock rear brakes, I guess. I’ll take a little credit in keeping the front wheels straight. And praise God mostly.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Sorry, that information is classified. And if it included close calls, while a passenger, would take an entire volume.

  • avatar
    DanDotDan

    Many, many years ago my buddy flipped a 1968 Mustang convertible with me in the passenger seat. Fortunately the top was up and it held. Just as the car was going over, I closed my eyes and the image of the newspaper headline (Two Boys Killed in Car Crash) appeared in my head. But we both survived with nothing more than bruises. The car was totaled, of course.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    Several years back, I was working on a heavy snow day, and had to get to my next client. The snow was heavy enough that changing lanes wasn’t a great idea, and three lanes were down to two, so my choice was either stick to the right with the timid and transports doing 40km/h, or go left and drive 100km/h like the other few bold individuals on the road. I chose the quicker option, which was perfectly fine, until the tire tracks were replaced by a half-foot of snow, which started dragging my car to the median. I pulled out, but started fishtailing pretty aggressively. Fortunately, no one else was around at the time, and I managed to slow down and straighten out without spinning or hitting anything.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Reminds me of going to pick up a friend at SeaTac airport in his 1994 Mercury Cougar. It was raining (in western Washington?!?!?!? Lol) and I was at a very congested intersection at SR9 (I was on highway 530) in Arlington. I got a break, so I went for it, and even though it was just a V-6 Cougar, it was a freshly paved and very rain slicked road and the car went sideways, pointing me right into the opposing lane where a lady in a Legacy (I think? May have been a Toyota) swerved towards her shoulder so I wouldn’t hit her, had I kept coming that direction. Right behind her was a Sheriff car, lol.

      I got it straight, having barely crossed into the other lane, and he didn’t turn around and pull me over like I was *very* sure he was going to. I guess he figured it was an honest mistake and that the look on my face showed I had learned my lesson, lol. I was far more used to driving FWD cars, and my RWD vehicles (’94 Aerostar and 1978 Mercury Zephyr Z-7 with the 3.3L I-6) took considerably more effort to “drift” like that than the Cougar did.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Too many to share. Which is why I’m grateful that my commute is now 20 miles a day on slower roads that have little chance for drama.

  • avatar
    mikestuff

    I’m going to be 70 years old in January, and I feel like an old man. In December 1965 (I think) I was a high school junior, and I was with a friend, just the passenger. He was driving his sister’s 1954 Chevy Belair, green with a white top from Sandy, UT (suburb of Salt Lake City) to Provo, UT to see PAUL HARVEY give a speech. (most of you won’t know who he was. Google him.)
    It was snowing of course and at some point (I used to remember exactly where it was) he hit a patch of icy road, easy to do in Utah in December. The Belair started sliding, we held on to whatever we could and the Chevy slid off the right side and went down a small embankment. It rolled over completely once then another half roll and we were looking out the windows upside down. No major injuries and luckily a guy following us saw the whole thing and was able to get to us and help open doors. I’ve forgotten lots of the details. I think the county sheriff showed up and soon his dad came and got us home in one piece. The person most upset was his sister, who never liked me. And she said it was my fault that the car went off the road. Her dad said “Oh, shut up, Kay. It wasn’t his fault anymore than yours since he wasn’t driving….” I used to remember every detail and recall all the places I hurt (not many, luckily) but as get turn 70, I forget lots of things.

  • avatar
    frank smith

    Years ago, I was driving down a 2 way – 4 lane street when I noticed a truck was stopped in the lane next to me. For no reason, I stopped next to the truck. There was no stop sign. The moment I stopped, a few kids in roller skates darted in front of my car. The truck had stopped to let them cross and they couldn’t see me because the truck was so big. Only explanation is, God had me stop.

    • 0 avatar
      ApostropheColon

      [registered after about ten years of lurking just to respond to this]

      I was headed to work, ~7:30 am, center lane of a three-lane boulevard. Following an F150 as it turned right off a red-light, road seems clear. We both line up in the right lane, he’s not as spunky about not getting behind the next light, so I get in the middle lane to pass, downshifting. F150 stops hard in the right lane, I can’t see why (I drive a 2006 GTI). Normal impulse would be to keep going. For some reason I stopped. Thank God I did. A (possibly Down’s) kid about ten years old is crossing the street. I stop hard, about a foot from the kid, adrenaline hot. Same moment I notice a loaded glass truck I’d never even seen barreling up the left lane. The kid hasn’t stopped yet, he’s nearly in the left lane, despite my wailing at the top of my voice for him to stop (windows closed, so lotta’ good it did). Having nothing else to do, I (STUPIDLY) throw open my door. G*ddamn anything to keep from having this kid get pasted on the road in frot of me. It somehow, somehow, worked. Kid stopped, glass truck stopped. Nobody dead. Close.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    I don’t know where to begin – too many close calls! Honestly, I’ve been SO blessed to still be here. Has the statute of limitations passed? Let me think about it and come back.

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    Back in 1989, I was driving my brand new 1989 Cougar, first car I ever owned with them new-fangled ABS brakes. Was on a 3 lane expressway, in the middle lane with traffic on both sides doing about 65mph. Failed to notice a car had stopped in the middle lane in front of me, no brake lights, nothing. Jammed on the brakes and held on and instantly became a HUGE fan of ABS brakes!

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    My track day earlier this year. Still not quite sure what happened, but I was overdriving and the VSC light went solid. 1 corner later the car spun and hit a wall, totaling it. Luckily I was in the infield… don’t know what would have happened if I were out on the oval, braking down from ~130 or so to a 2nd gear left with an outside wall.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    How does a triple rollover in a subcompact on a Welsh mountain hairpin bend sound? Seems like a major wreck, not a close call, until I mention that the direction of travel had me rolling into the mountain rather than off the edge of the mountain and down a few hundred feet through scraggly pine trees.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Since Corey didn’t specify passenger or driver, I’ll add a Welsh story as well. It was on a drive back from Wales to London in an Audi A4 with three other passengers plus the diver. This was a B5 with one of the lower-spec engines, and the driver wasn’t used to having more than one extra person in it. He BADLY misjudged the time he had to overtake a lorry, and we almost hit another lorry head on with each vehicle traveling at highway speed. We completed the pass with virtually no margin for error. It was terrifying. I was in the right rear seat so, as it was Britain, so I had a reasonably good view of unfolding events. I remember thinking, “Lorry coming the opposite direction. OK, drop back into our lane . . . . WHAT THE F_CK?! HE’S TRYING TO COMPLETE THE PASS! DROP BACK!! Oh God, we’re all going to die.” We were within 10 feet of both lorries when we swerved back into our lane.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        My dad did that same thing to me when I was a child in his 1992 F-150 Custom (which was the base model, evidently so named because if you wanted a radio, cloth seats, and a rear bumper, they’d have to be “custom” lol) with the Inline 6 and a 5 speed, and the bed (with a canopy on it) packed full. We BARELY cleared both semis. I’m surprised there wasn’t a puddle on the vinyl seat trickling down on to the rubber floor. And, yes, I’d be honest if there had been lol.

      • 0 avatar
        ApostropheColon

        Sounds like everyday passing on the 2-lane motorways in Poland. Opel Corsa City B 1.2 and two passengers, always fun times. It’s playing chicken just to get anywhere. I used to joke there’s a middle lane, you just can’t see it. Many pucker-up moments, but everyone does it and hardly bats an eye. Hard to get used to though. People will stack up three deep to pass in the nonexistent passing lane and triple pass tandems, with the same thing happening in the other lane. I’ve seen passing cars essentially slalom around each other in order to avoid a collision. This is considered relatively normal.

  • avatar
    Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

    Driving down a three-lane freeway’s center lane about a year after I got my driver’s license. I’m passing a semi on the left when the driver suddenly decides to merge into my lane.

    I start swerving left, but see a motorcycle coming up in my blind spot so that’s not an option, either. I wind up threading the divider line, on the horn and brakes but also not ceding ground. Somehow, the semi finally realizes what nearly happened and moves back into the right lane.

    I speed by the semi (such as that is in a Geo Storm) still on the horn and screaming every foul name I can think of at the driver. I then look to my left, where the motorcycle is passing me – both riders cheering and giving me thumbs-up signs for not killing them in a panicked reaction to save myself.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    Driving into downtown Calgary on a Sunday morning (roads deserted). Approaching the first of many sets of lights in the left lane of a 3-lane one-way street, they turn from red to green when I was about 200 yards from the intersection. A new building was going up on the block to my left, so my view was obscured by construction fences and barricades as I get to the intersection. As soon as I get past the crosswalk I see out of the corner of my eye a station wagon running the light from the left just at the crosswalk and heading straight at my door. Hauled the wheel hard right, crossing two lanes diagonally through the intersection. I see the car pass behind me as I prepared for what I thought would be a rear corner slam requiring spin recovery. The car just kept on going as though nothing had happened. Mad as hell, I shift down and stomp the gas – full speed to the next light, hard right, full speed, hard right, and back to the next intersection where the dim woman is sitting at the red light this time. Stopped in front of her, jumped out, and spent some quality time discussing her lack of driving ability. I was supremely impressed by the handling of that 1985 Mustang GT 5.0 – the tires barely squeaked during my violent avoidance maneuvers. To this day I still can’t figure out how she missed me – she was just 10 feet away when I saw her.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Side impact between ’96 Escort vs ’89 Accord in 1997. I’m lucky to be here and it was all due to a seat belt.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Seatbelts are a pretty cool idea, aren’t they?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Were you in the Escort or the Accord?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Escort, passenger side where the impact occurred.

        FUN FACT: The MY96 Escort does NOT have a passenger air bag.

        @lie2me

        Seat belts are def for the kool kidz.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          My brothers were t-boned by a Chevy 1 ton in my parents 1985.5 Escort 3 door at ~55 MPH. It’s a miracle they survived, and honestly, their injuries weren’t as severe as you’d think. The driver’s face had to have partial reconstruction, passenger’s ribs were broken with one collapsed lung. Rear passenger (a friend) was uninjured. It could have been so much worse, and just thinking about it makes me tear up.

          Witnesses said the Escort spun around several times, hitting a light pole before impacting a Pontiac Grand Prix on the other side of the intersection as it finally came to a rest.

          There is now a red light at that intersection (in Stanwood, Wa).

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “FUN FACT: The MY96 Escort does NOT have a passenger air bag.”

          It does. Maybe it didn’t work, or that one was actually older and therefore didnt have one, but they got dual airbags in 1994 I think. I had bought my ex girlfriend a 1994 Escort 5 door and later a 1995 3 door after she relocated for school (having sold the ’94 to her dad as a cheap commuter before moving). I know the 1995 had one, I’m almost sure the 1994 did too.

          1996 Ford Escort dash on Google Images (incase the link doesn’t work):

          https://goo.gl/images/KDH5ZN

          You can see the passenger airbag.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            John, if I ever go on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire,” and the final question is about 1990s Fords, I’m calling you as my lifeline. Fair warning.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            As long as I get a cut. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            I’d totally hook you up!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Forgive me it was an MY97 ZX2 as there was no ZX2 in MY96 (she must have bought it in 1996 which is why I had 96 in my head).

            The interior was similar to this:

            http://staticcl.lavozdelinterior.com.ar/files/imagecache/
            ficha_aviso_628_418_sc/avisos/aviso_auto/aviso-auto–6428503.jpg

            If there was supposed to be an air bag on the passenger side it did not deploy. Good catch.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Fair warning: the likelyhood that I’ll spend it on 1990s Fords is fairly high.

            Actually, I found a 1999 Jaguar XJR a couple days ago. I guess that would count as a Ford product given Ford owned them at the time and when it was developed. Would absolutely positively most definitely *love* to make it mine. Beautiful, comfortable and luxurious car that does 0-60 in 5 seconds? Yes. Yes.

            Yes. I may be a glutton for punishment, but it would sure be fun when it was all working correctly.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    This would have been in ’93 or ’94, in my Protege. I was in Chicago, driving north on the Stevenson at the road’s terminus (Lake Shore Drive), and exited northbound. There’s a fairly tight left-hand bend for the merge, and it’s basically blind. It was a weekend morning, so traffic was pretty light, and I was probably doing 55-60 mph. As I was taking the exit, there was a stalled car (complete with kids hanging out the windows, as I recall) sitting in the left hand lane right in my path. The guy hadn’t even bothered to pull over – he just let the car come to a stop in a traffic lane. There was no time to brake – I had to do a snap right hand lane change to avoid them. Thankfully, the Protege handled it like a champ; otherwise, I’d have piled into a parked car with a family in it doing 60. Game Over for everyone involved.

    Some folks think big cars are safer in crashes – and perhaps they are – but I thank my lucky stars I was in something with some handling chops that day. If I’d been in some ginormous SUV or pickup, I do believe I’d have done a triple Lutz right into the wall.

  • avatar
    stevejac

    I was driving to San Diego with my family in a Suburban. As we approached the ICE checkpoint on the other side of the freeway in Northern San Diego County, something happened ahead–I never could figure out what. All the lanes stopped in front of me. I happened to be in the left hand lane (don’t ask me why– in a Suburban). These trucks have terrible brakes, so I knew I was going to hit the guy in front. I quickly went onto the left shoulder and watched as the guy that had been behind me slammed into the car that had been in front.

    I just drove up the shoulder and continued the trip.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    For the couple years of my life I rode in a car seat that strapped over the front bench seat of my parent’s 51 Chevy with some hooks. I was held in place by a fake steering wheel, which was the only thing between me and the hard metal (unpadded) dashboard. Until I was 13 I rode around in various cars that didn’t have seatbelts, padded dashboards, safety locks, crush zones, or decent brakes, but I particularly enjoyed riding on the fold down armrest of my grandparent’s Buick – a child booster seat without any confining seatbelts. Today my loving parents and grandparents would be arrested for child endangerment.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, I’ve been told when I was a baby that I was strapped into the front seat of our ’51 Cadillac, my mother, who was driving ran into the house to get something leaving me and the running Cadillac alone. Apparently I reached over and put the Caddy in gear and my mother found us joy riding through the back yard. Fortunately some bushes were able to stop us and my mother was able to leap into the car and take control. She says I was laughing hysterically having the time of my life

      • 0 avatar
        Newsy1904

        ditto…. was about 2 or 3 years old and dad left me in the car while he ran into the store/post office for something. This was in a townsite just outside the fence of a gold mine in northern Quebec in the early 60’s. No car seats then. Engine was off but I put it into neutral and the car rolled backwards down a hill and hit a telephone pole. It was the only thing between the car and a “glory hole” which was a vertical shaft about 100+ feet deep where they had mined from below following a rich vein of ore until they had broken through to the surface. I do recall the event though somewhat dimly now.

        That was my first vehicular close call and there have been many others since.

      • 0 avatar

        Hahah, and you were never left in the car alone again.

      • 0 avatar
        road_pizza

        When I was 7 or 8 I rolled our ’62 LeSabre out of our driveway and right into our neighbor’s mailbox…

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      My brother used to ride in the passenger footwell of my mom’s ’72 Malibu, which had a big honkin’ V-8. One day, we came to a red light, and Mom couldn’t figure out why the car wasn’t slowing down fast enough to stop for it. We ended up lurching through the red, complete with honking horns, screeching tires, and what-not. My brother had climbed over the transmission hump, and was playing with the accelerator at the same time Mom was pushing on the brake.

      Funny story, but that could have turned into a MAJOR accident, and if it had, we’d have all been tossed around the interior of that car like pinballs. Ditto for the people in the other cars.

      The good old days weren’t always good, you know?

  • avatar
    CrystalEyes

    It was 1993 on a rural Ontario highway. It was late at night in a downpour, and I had just arrived on a flight from BC. I was there as part of a multi-cultural and inter-faith event for the Year of Indiginous Peoples, and I was in a rental car driving four teenagers from different provinces and a variety of ethnic backgrounds to an Ojibway reservation. One of them had a map and we were trying to figure out where we were supposed to go, when I turned my attention back to the road and was horrified to realize that a vehicle in front of me had braked hard for a left turn while I had been distracted. There was a vehicle in the right lane and the car in front of me had just started to turn. I cut hard left and jabbed at the brakes. The car started rotating and I released the brakes and cut right, somehow snaking past the car without hitting it. My car began rotating in the other direction as I turned the wheel left again, and now that I was past the other car the urge to get back on the brakes was almost overwhelming; but I managed to stay off of them and kept the front wheels pointed down the road. I found myself back in my lane with the car pointed in the right direction, seemingly without having lost any speed, as if nothing had even happened. It happened so fast there were no screams or anything, and we drove on for a long moment in stunned silence. Anti-lock brakes were still not common, and the rental car certainly didn’t have them, so if not for the many hours I had spent as a teen sliding around in snowy parking lots and on gravel roads I’m sure I would have slid into the back of that car with my foot hard on the brakes and all four wheels locked. I pulled over at a motel/restaurant and we got out of the car, breathing hard and not still not saying anything. The place was closed for the night so we just kind of stood there in the rain, starting to shake with cold and reaction. Some one came out of the office and spoke to us, but we just sort of stared at her, still to shaken to respond. She saw something wasn’t right and called to her husband, and we were ushered into the dark restaurant as we tried to explain what had happened. They soon had some lights on and insisted that we sit while they made coffee and sandwiches, until we had dried off and calmed down. They were obviously curious about the collection of colours and accents we sported, and how we had ended up on their doorstep in the dark and rain. They spoke with thick Norwegian accents themselves, and had only recently arrived in Canada to take over the motel that had until then been run by a relative. We left many hours later, much fortified, and got to the reservation to join in the festivities with over a hundred of our fellows hailing from many First Nations and countries all over the world. The five of us were especially happy to be there, and instead of the worst possible it was the best time I ever had; even though we all must have seemed oddly solemn and focused every time we got into a car.

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    Last year I went to the Lafayette, CO cars and coffee with my 6 year old son in our nicely restored ’68 GMC C2500. As we were heading back down Wadsworth just north of the Denver Boulder turnpike a beat-to-hell old truck with Gadsden and Confederate flags flying from the back bumper was crawling along in the right lane – we were two lanes over in the left lane at probably 40 MPH or so.

    All of a sudden he decided he needed to turn left. And cut across 3 lanes of a busy highway without signaling or, apparently, looking. Drunk? Stoned? Stupid? Probably.

    I stood hard on the brakes which promptly locked up, but I didn’t have enough room to lay off the brakes and try again. All I could do was try and hold the skid and hope I slowed enough not to hit the moron in front of me. I missed him by inches with the passenger front corner, as the back end was coming around. Finally came to a stop perpendicular to the lane of traffic with my nose about 2 feet up the center median, which is a sloped concrete deal. He made his left turn and just kept on going.

    The truck had just enough clearance not to tear up the front end – any sort of car would have probably been totaled. My little guy was understandably freaked out. It was weeks before we could get him in any car without lots of coaxing.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    In the early 1980s, I was driving my ’75 Duster 360 on a four-lane main road on the west side of Gainesville, Florida. It was a chilly, very wet day and there was a decent amount of traffic. A car veered into my lane immediately in front of me and I hit the brakes hard. That sent the Duster into a spin and I went a full 360 degrees before regaining traction. Amazing enough, I didn’t hit anything during the spin, though I was about this close to peeing in my pants. I would like to say that my driving skills saved the day, but I think it might have been more like divine intervention.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Young and dumb, driving too fast during the drive 55 stay alive days.

    A Subaru changed lanes right in front of me, I had no choice but to crank the wheel hard right, I overcompensated when into a skid at low triple digits.

    Thankfully I didn’t crank the wheel back and get the inevitable cavitation of left to right until the rollover or straight impact into another car or guardrail.

    Drifted across all 3 highway lanes without hitting anything and still didn’t have any grip on the pavement, drifted through the breakdown lane and thought at that point, “yup, me and my buddy are dead.”

    Thankfully there was an on ramp right at that point so drifted across the widest part of the gore through the marbles, missing the back end of the guardrail by inches, drifted across the ramp, and finally the tires let out a squeal, drifted into the breakdown lane of the on ramp and the sideways slide ended, mere inches from the guardrail. All of this happened in a blink but it felt like forever. My buddy probably saw a skeleton in the driver seat like in Planes, Trains and Automobiles (or Satan laughing).

    I can’t say that this was the superior driving skills that kept me from doing something idiotic like turning too hard against the skid or jamming the brake to lock up or some other form of stupidity that would have assured I had an accident. I just somehow through blind dumb luck did the right thing.

    Had I rear-ended the Subaru at 100+ (85 MPH speedometer so really no idea how fast I was going beyond 95 to 100 given where it was on the dash) it would have been a catastrophic accident. To this day I don’t know if my buddy knew I was basically completely out of control through all of that, or he thinks I pulled some miracle off.

    https://youtu.be/ck7BFkdPz8U?t=92

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    Literally 0 degrees outside at 9:15am, cloudy, no precipitation, January 2.

    Hit some black ice as I drove through some blowing snow at 60mph, far left lane with two exit-only lanes to my right—with flow of traffic.

    Did at least 2 360-degree turns. Instinctively turned into the spin. Missed the concrete median and the semi that just passed me to the left.

    when I came to a halt after a few seconds there were 5 lanes of semis and cars stopped 50 yards behind me.

    My car’s engine turned off after getting flooded with gas. So I restarted the car, waved ‘sorry’ to the cars behind me and got off the next exit.

    whew. I drive like an old man now (99% of the time).

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I was pulling my 15k+ lb, 41′ gooseneck horse trailer through Eaton, Ohio, at the 35mph limit toward a 5-point (green-lighted for me) intersection in fairly heavy traffic. Out of the corner of my right eye I saw the lane next to me rapidly slow and the red flashing light of a contract ambulance pulling across in front from one of the five intersecting streets – no siren at all, just a couple of JC Whitney-grade flashing red lights on top of the ambulance. I hit the brakes, the trailer brake controller failed (of course) and locked up all four truck wheels of my then 18-year old F350. 11 tons came to a squalling stop in a huge cloud of tire smoke – I missed him by maybe 6 inches after sliding several feet as he drove across the nose of my rig at 40mph or so through the four lanes of the highway. The horses never have really trusted me after that…

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Most of my close calls have been on two wheels. First was shortly after I bought my first bike, took a corner too wide and crossed the yellow line, fortunately the oncoming driver was paying attention and was able to make room for me. I’ve returned the favor twice, once on a bike and once in a car, both times it was automobiles that couldn’t figure out how to stay in their lane.

    Riding down the Pasadena Freeway–oldest in LA, I believe–it’s made of concrete, and the slab I was on had subsided 4 or 5 inches, making the transition to the next slab a very abrupt step. I only had a second to prepare for it and was boxed in on both sides by traffic. Hit it at about 60 mph, bike got very squirrelly but didn’t go down. That was a couple seconds of stark terror.

  • avatar
    Funky D

    Corey, mine ended up pretty much similar to yours, except the cause was completely different. We were on our way to Pigeon Forge when the guy in front of me decided to do a panic stop 5 milliseconds after a light turned yellow (he could have easily cleared the intersection before the red light came on, heck I probably could have also!). Due to the poor quality of the Goodyear Wranglers which were OEM on Clifford the Big Red Avalanche, I quickly discovered that I would not grind to a halt in the distance allotted. Fortunately, the left turn lane was open and I steered into it (thankfully, the ABS kept the wheels turning!). By the time I completely whoaed up, I was 5 FEET ahead of the chump who used to be in front of me.

    After that trip, I wasted no time losing the crap Goodyear tires. I have never had Goodyear tires, nor a close call like that, ever since!

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    In ’91 I was driving my new (to me) ’89 Supra Turbo down Lincoln Drive in Philadelphia (see John Travolta movie “Blowout”) on a wet day. It was a sports car, it had to handle better than the front wheel drive ’84 Chrysler Laser Turbo that I had had previously, right? Uh, no, not on a wet day.

    I came to the end of Lincoln Drive, and when I entered the curve to the City Line Ave. bridge, I hit an expansion strip, and the car spun 90 degrees to the right, and then having overcorrected, it swung 180 degrees to the left, and then I managed to straighten it out, without hitting the bridge guard rails on any other vehicles. Whew!

    The following week I saw a RWD Pontiac Firebird up on the guardrail at that same spot. He had not been so lucky.

    I managed to avoid spinning that car again for the ten years that I owned it (except when I wanted to, of course!), until the last week that I owned it, after having gotten used to driving an AWD Audi. I spun it 180 degrees that last day, but managed not to hit anything that day either.
    I’ve been driving AWD cars ever since, with no more close calls.

  • avatar
    BunkerMan

    I’ll just summarize my close calls by saying “Winter driving in rural Canada.”

    – 360 degree spin on a narrow 2 lane road with drop offs on either side in winter to avoid a deer. No damage to my car and the deer trotted off. I don’t know if my underwear survived.

    – Driving 100 km through route 7 in New Brunswick at night in a blizzard. This stretch goes through a large military training area, so it is isolated and pitch black at night. The snow was deep enough that drifts would frequently pass over the hood of my car. I was at the head of the line and no one would dare pass me. I learned to love snow tires on that drive.

    – Almost hitting a moose on the same highway above, at night. The car in front of me swerved unexpectedly, so I decided it was a good idea to do the same, without seeing why. I was in a 1992 Saturn and it was big enough that all I saw were legs. I don’t think I would have survived that one. I was still shaking when I arrived at my girlfriend’s apartment about a half hour later.

    I hate that road.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    My story is very similar to both Corey’s and commenter stevejac’s above.

    I went down to Portland OR from above Seattle WA to pick up a 1998 Chevrolet Lumina I had bought at a repo auction. My friend drove me down in his 1995ish Honda Accord. On the way back, in the mountainous area below Olympia, it was drizzling rain and lightly foggy. Traffic had stopped but had picked up again at about 40-45 MPH, I was in the left lane and my buddy was behind me in the Accord. Something distracted me, not sure what it was (a noise? Something I saw out of the corner of my eye? Don’t remember) and I looked away momentarily. When I looked back, the BMW in front of me was stopped.

    I hit the brakes and like Corey, I felt the ABS at work. I swerved to the left and the LF wheel went up on the Jersey barrier a bit and slammed back down. Once stopped, I was perfectly level with the BMW.

    The funny thing is, there was no stopped traffic in front of the BMW. An attempted insurance scam? I don’t know, but once I got stopped, he took off. Make of it what you will.

    I was sure I had damaged the Lumina, so I got in the middle lane and my buddy pulled up next to me, looked, and then shook his head with a “nothing to see” look. I could feel a vibration once we got up to around 55 or so, so I exited at the next opportunity. The result was a barely grazed fender and a bent steel wheel. Fearing that the tire may be damaged, I popped the trunk and was going to put the spare on. No spare. So I said f— it and drove it on home at moderate speeds. The next day, I bought a used 15″ steel wheel off a Bonneville in the local pull-a-part to replace the bent one. I ended up letting my manager drive it for a month or so before I got it back and sold it. I also put a tachometer cluster from a Monte Carlo in it, lol, complete with a bezel I painted the same maroon as the car. Trying to make chicken salad out of chicken sh¡t, I guess. Haha
    In retrospect, I shoulda just upgraded the entire wheel set to alloys, but I didn’t think of it at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      “Something distracted me, not sure what it was”

      Cute guy? ;-)

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Ha! Nahh, whatever it was, it was to my left, and I could barely see the cars on the other side because of the barrier (certainly not the drivers going by).

        There were trees and such along the borders of the road, maybe it was some motion from one of them, or a noise from the other side of the barrier. I honestly can’t remember. I just remember looking back forward from my left and seeing a stopped BMW, and panicking. Luckily I made the right choices/moves and avoided the impact. Could have easily turned out bad.

  • avatar
    salad daze

    I was driving my 2002 Thunderbird on the ramp from the Garden State Parkway south onto I-78 West, kind of a downhill S-curve, in a rainstorm. Took it too fast and spun out across both lanes at the end of the ramp and ended up facing the wrong way. Somehow everyone managed to stop… I learned to be as mindful of rain as snow.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Leaving my neighborhood one day, just like I’ve done ten thousand times before and since, I came to a stop at the T, looked both ways for oncoming traffic, and made my left turn – right in front of a Camry heading for my door at 45 mph. Thankfully the other driver was awake enough to swerve right on to the shoulder and miss me by a few feet. If he hadn’t been awake I’d have never walked again, maybe not lived at all.

    Dark green car with his lights off, dark grey asphalt, a backdrop of shaded trees on both sides of the road, and a bright sky for contrast above. I looked right at where he must have been three seconds ago and he never registered.

    90% mea culpa, I pulled out where I shouldn’t have, but the army paints things green for a reason.

  • avatar
    jmiller417

    I was sitting in my ’91 CRX Si waiting for the car in front of me to turn left off of a hilly bit of two-lane road just outside Oxford, Mississippi. I looked up into my rearview mirror just in time to see a hulking mid-’70s Eldorado bearing down on me much too quickly. Somehow it managed to steer around me and the car in front of me on a very narrow shoulder with something like a 20-foot drop and just kept right on going. Good thing; I don’t think it would’ve ended well for me.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Similar thing happened to me, although I was a back seat passenger, also in a Honda (super clean 1989 Accord sedan 5spd my buddy had just put a head gasket on), involving a semi truck.

      We had come around a corner and there was a vehicle (and two or three behind it) stopped to make a left, waiting for opposing traffic to clear. We got stopped in plenty of time, then my friend (driver) said “oh sh¡t!”, shifted into to first, cranked the wheel and hit the throttle. The Accord lurched forward and onto the shoulder as I could hear tire squealing behind me. I looked back and saw the truck sliding, it stopped inches from the car that had been in front of us (now beside us).

      I remember I said “Ryan, I think you just saved my life. Thanks man.”

      Funny how I’m reminded of other close calls I’ve had by reading other’s stories, heheh.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      reminds me of one of my many close calls, also in a CRX Si. Two-lane blacktop at dusk in rural Michigan. I was just cruising along at around 60 MPH when a deer came from the left side, running at full clip. Thank God for the maneuverability of that car and the fact that there was no one in the oncoming lane – I was able to brake hard, swerving into that side of the road and just hitting the deer’s right rear leg with the right front of the CRX. I swear, if I had stayed in my lane I would have had that animal come right through the windshield and I don’t think I would be here today.

      The insurance claim was easy, because the adjuster found deer hair in the broken headlight assembly!

  • avatar
    Pete Zaitcev

    I had to use the wind to navigate a mountain pass once, started to hug the upwind slope and ride ridges at a distance a wingspan or two, and almost snagged a power line.

    In a car though… Nope, nothing comes to mind. Nowadays, it’s next to impossible to die in a car: you have to catch a head-on or fall off a bridge.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Two lane road, speed limit of 100kph. So everyone is doing 110 for a closing speed of 220kph to opposite lane.

    Driving, eating some sort of chips. We usually look at food prior to inserting in mouth. Noticed hair sticking out of piece of food. Put both hands on top of steering wheel to pull hair from food.

    Hair just kept coming and coming out of food. All three people in the car now looking at the lengthening hair, entranced to see how long it is. Hair is very long.

    Finally look up to see car has drifted across center line and about to come into path of oncoming car. (Refer to closing speed above.) Swerve out of the way in the nick of time. Phew.

    Lessons learned:
    – Have more respect for the innocent people around you.
    – If you must eat while driving, be aware there is heightened risk.
    – 2 lane roads with high speed limits are especially dangerous.
    – Have your alignment set properly so the car will tend to drift off a crowned road to the right, instead of up over the crown into oncoming traffic.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    It was about 1971 and I was driving a ’65 Suburban in the fastest of the fastest lanes on that freeway with a million lanes that goes east/west across the top of Toronto.

    We later found the Suburban had the wrong gear in the speedometer cable, so we were always driving 15% faster than we thought. Probably 95mph at the time. It had a very large V8.

    Slight downhill, and we notice all lanes ahead are blocked by crashed cars,and all the moving cars between us and them are spinning and sliding all over the place.

    I hammer the brakes. Locked the back wheels but not the fronts. I keep pressing harder as the 4-wheel drums fade. From 95mph and downhill there is a lot of energy to dissipate. So this takes a while. No one in the Sudurban is making a sound. Only the screaming tires. It appears we’re going to hit the next car ahead of us.

    I’d read that Stirling Moss, faced with an unavoidable collision, spun his car around to hit going backwards and so limit being injured. I considered the back of the Suburban would be cheaper to fix than the front, so I initiated a spin.

    We got halfway around before coming to a stop, sideways, 1 foot from the next car. Had we been lined up, the greater distance from the centre of gravity to the front or back end of the Suburban would have meant an impact. Checked to see if any traffic behind was going to hit us. No, and so not a scratch.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    This is one I recall a bit too well, a year ago or so I was driving around in winter time in my 2001 Crown Vic.

    As I was heading home traffic was stopped ahead at a red light, a school bus in the right, dump truck left, Ford Escape middle (or some other boxy CUV thing). I was in the middle lane.

    With litterally nowhere to dodge the CUV I hit my brakes, locking up and learning that my car does NOT have ABS. At this point I was between the bigger vehicles and closing on the CUV at 30-ish mph.

    The light goes green, and we keep moving. But,I learned why some people like having ABS.

  • avatar
    acmoney

    Well I could go full Jack Baruth here and talk about a close call in the passenger seat in high school, involving me and a passenger and failed plastics. Or another close call involving me and a passenger resulting in gum being stuck to the driver seat bottom and the car being pushed into neutral at 75MPH. But instead I’ll go half JB and mention exiting the freeway onto a frontage road with my brother’s girlfriend in the passenger seat (and no one else in the car). The 2-lane frontage road was empty and we were doing 65 when a crossover exited a restaurant SLOWLY and put itself maybe 70% in the right lane. I was in the left lane and going too fast to stop in time, so I accelerated and laid on the horn. I thought for sure I would at least clip the mirror but my Mazda was *just* narrow enough to avoid scraping or worse. If I had been in my SUV it almost certainly would have been a collision. My brother’s girlfriend screamed but I was too focused on surviving to even make a noise. A few minutes after I could still feel the adrenaline. Definitely closest call so far.

  • avatar
    notfromanywhere

    It is a snowy afternoon and I am in High school in southwestern PA (PGH exurbs). I am driving a friend home in my dad’s 100k plus mile manual SAAB 900s. We started the last mile home on a long uphill open piece of 3 lane highway. I pushed past a rabbit GTI (MK1) and the guy takes issue and mashes his throttle not letting me back into the right lane. We are neck and neck @ 65mph in a 35 zone as the road goes back to two lanes of travel and levels off. I edge past the guy into the lane but then start a spin (over correct lessons come hard when your 17 and stupid). I spun three times ending off the road across from a convenience store and narrowly missing the fence for the local golf course. It took me 5 minutes to pull my hands off the wheel and drive out of the ditch. The car was a champ and had no visible signs of wear from the incident. Weeks later my dad took the car to our mechanic and he tells me he is unsure how the car’s motor mounts have broken. Hum.. dad I am not sure how that happened are you not sure it was not one of my siblings? I know the hate is legit here for SAABs but those 80s era cars were stout and forgiving to a kid that desperately needed it. Dad sold it when I was in college; knowing that I would have paid him on the spot for the car that would have bankrupted me and/or made fluent in Swedish. Never bought a SAAB but we are three Volvos into life and now looking at the MK VII GTI sitting in our driveway. I’d be lying if that scary snowy afternoon was not in my mind when I drove the GTI in the winter for the first time.

    (First time + long time. Been reading but not writing here since the very early days. Not sure why this brought me out of the weeds but it did)

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    SO many but two come to mind. Driving Calgary to Edmonton in a spring snow storm, wet, heavy snow. the highway is down to one lane, but because Alberta on a long week-end, bumper-to-bumper at 110-120kph. The rental Civic starts to hydroplane on the water/slush mixture between two transports. I don’t dare back out and don’t dare over-steer it. Lasted 3-4 seconds felt like hours utterly focused on tiny, tiny steering inputs and feeling seat-of-the-pants. The other was in a taxi in Istanbul. Sofer Efendim (driver) going pretty quick on the freeway, he pulls right to go around a slow bus, turns out there’s a bus-stop right there. hard, threshold braking on bald tires on the FIAT 135, I see wisps of smoke off the fronts, as see women and children staring at us in horror. Driver deftly eases the brakes and tucks back behind the other bus. The guy was good, Alonso good!

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Nearly forgot about this incident…

    It’s 1985 and I’m sitting stationary in my 1984 Honda CRX in heavy traffic at a very busy Orlando, Florida intersection (State Road 436 and US 50 for those who know the area). There’s a semi in front and there are cars on either side boxing me in. I look in the mirror and see a concrete truck approaching much too fast. The driver locked his brakes and the truck was noisily headed right for me. If it hit I would be pushed under the semi and I told myself “this is going to really hurt”. However, the concrete truck came to a halt with maybe a foot to spare. I could have fainted.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    New years day, 2016 at 12:00 noon. My wife and I were in our 1994 Silverado pickup heading home on a 2 lane highway. I was doing the speed limit of 55mph when we began to approach a Ford Ranger pickup heading in our direction.

    I noticed the Ranger start to drift into my lane. I thought he would realize it and correct. But he never did and as he got closer, he was fully in my lane. At the last seconds, I jerked my wheel to the right, jumped a ditch, hit a telephone junction box and got on the brakes. I stopped in the front yard of a house.

    The Ranger driver continued off the road on my side and down into some trees where he crashed. He crawled out of the truck and appeared to be ok. He saw us standing there and stated that he had fallen asleep. I don’t think he even knew he had forced me off the road.

    We called the Highway Patrol who eventually got there. The Ranger driver admitted to the officer that he had fallen asleep stating that he had sleep apenia and probably shouldn’t even be driving.

    Several people here have credited God for getting them through their accidents. I believe that is true in my case. A few yards in either direction of the incident were deep ravines where I could not have survived unscathed by running off the road.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      1) glad you and yours made it without injury. Hope the Chevy was as lucky.

      2) I love this forum. A healthy majority use actual car names, as in instead of saying “my wife and I were in my truck” its “my wife and I were in our 1994 Silverado” (in your case). I LOVE that! I’m a bit OCD with this. If I’m watching a home video taking place in a front yard and you can hear a car pass by on a street behind the camera, I want to know what kinda car it was! Yes, crazy, I know.

      3) and definitely not least though its last on this list: giving Him the credit He deserves warms my heart. I know I should have been dead a thousand times over were it not for His grace. Not necessarily with cars or anything else in particular, but I’ve seen His hand at work and it simply amazes me. In the accident that injured my back, I was a few feet from plummeting down a deep ravine. Having an injured back has been challenging to say the least, but I’ll take it over not being here at all. Surviving being broadsided by a Chevy Z-71 while in a 1991 Accord Is something to behold in and of itself.

  • avatar
    MA128

    It was 1972 and I was 18 years old with 3 other teenagers in my Fiat 128. No drinking and no drugs – just very animated conversation while driving through a typical Long Island neighborhood of many cross streets (roughly a grid). It was at night and without realizing it I ran a stop sign and crossed a busy two lane road. One block later, I realized what I had done and pulled over to sit a few minutes while I shook from head to toe.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when the relevant statute of limitations is definitely expired.
    Mainly I came here to say how much I loved that I30 in the teaser photo from my high school days.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I have bad memory so this may not be the worst of the many near misses I’ve been in but it’s the one that comes to mind.

    I had to move my S10 Blazer across town, didn’t have tags on it and needed to do some work before putting it on the road. My H2 being 3/4 ton suspension and brakes should have no trouble moving just the Blazer anywhere. But I had to borrow a trailer and the one that I borrowed was from a buddy who used it for split duty on a dump truck and his duramax. The trailer had a pintle hitch and by all means was meant for the dump truck. Easily weighing as much as the Blazer did if not more.

    No issue for the H2 except for the fact I didn’t have trailer brakes, well no problem I thought, I’m just going across town – I’ll be slow. So I leave for my house with a total weight around 12-14k (accounting for other equipment and parts in my truck and in the Blazer) I have no trouble getting through town and get to the last leg of the trip which is a 2 lane road with a 55mph speed limit. I keep truck and trailer under control down the one long hill (surely causing some fade on the 4 disk brakes). And continue onto a road That has 1 house on a 3 mile stretch which rarely sees anyone turn into. Of course that day the homeowner decided to turn in at last moment with a long line of cars following. As I came up to the line I realized it was slowing down instead of speeding up as I calculated.
    So on go the brakes, progressively harder until I realize that I’m not getting the response I want, all the way to the floor with ABS shaking the truck, I make a quick decision to go into the oncoming lane which is fortunately empty and continue a car and a half length on before completing my stop.

    Definitely had a pucker factor. I’m just thankful that I had the Blazer chained down well enough because it could have been much worse in several ways.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    In 2013 I was helping someone move and I was loaned a friend’s old minivan. I don’t remember the model but I know it was American. As I was driving on the highway, I felt a bit of shaking… which became a violent shake not long after. It was so bad I had to lower my speed from 100kph to 60kph.

    The shaking increased some more until all of a sudden I hear a loud BANG and I see the left front wheel roll away!! I had lost a wheel! On the highway! I gently braked and steered toward the shoulder. Thankfully I managed to come to a stop in a straight line with no drama, and the wheel didn’t hit anyone as it rolled away on the highway.

    I’ll never forget that day and the feeling of anxiety as I wondered what was going on with the van while it was shaking.

  • avatar
    GTL

    OK, so here’s another one from way back when…My parents went out for an evening with friends, leaving me at home alone at 15 years old… so of course I took the keys, fired up my parent’s Buick Wildcat 225 with the 445CI engine and picked up my best friend for an evening of joyriding. This was i rural Georgia.

    We swapped so my friend could drive some…we were flying up a hill at 110 mph when I saw a stop sign; I yelled at my friend, but he kept the petal to the metal and we went through that intersection airborne…right in front of an approaching car.

    The rest of the evening was anticlimactic and my parents never found out.

  • avatar

    One of the closest – which was entirely my fault – occurred while I was driving home from my then girlfriend’s home. Southbound at 55 mph around midnight or so I was tired – driving drowsy basically. I had pulled over before in this situation, but always was wide awake after the drone of tires on pavement was gone. Decided not to stop this evening which was a mistake. At some point I fell completely asleep, my 72 Charger crossing over into the northbound side and then into the relatively steep ditch. At that point, I awoke having just missed a poll marker on that side of the road. In the ditch ahead of me was a gravel crossroad with a large drainage culvert protruding from it’s side. It would have tore the front end of the car up had I hit it. Not sure how I missed the culvert (I judged the space better than I would have expected looking back now). The Charger traversed the east/west road, flying up and over it, missing the other side of the culvert then coming to a stop. I remember looking up towards the road I had been on. There were 2 or 3 southbound cars which had slowed to a stop – I imagined them looking at my plight and wondering if I was injured. I hit the gas taking a diagonal path up and out of the ditch onto the pavement and zipped down the road. I pulled off a couple of miles later and got out to access the damage to the car. As the 2 or 3 cars went by I could see no obvious damage. Waiting for the other vehicles to get down the road a bit farther, I pulled back onto the road and continued home quite awake. Very little traffic on the road at that hour which was a blessing as it would have been much worse had there been oncoming when I fell asleep.

  • avatar
    Wheeljack

    Two incidents, one as a passenger, one as a driver…passenger story first:

    Heading eastbound back to Denver from Lake Powell on I-70 in a two-vehicle “convoy” consisting of my Dad’s ’87 Jeep Cherokee pulling a boat, and his co-worker Jerry’s late 80’s Dodge Ramcharger, also pulling a boat. I’m riding in the Ramcharger since the two types of music available in Dad’s Jeep were country and western…ugh. We come out of the Eisenhower tunnel to a blizzard of epic proportions (weather was ok on the west side of the tunnel, fairly common) and carefully crawl down the grade at a modest pace. Up ahead of us is a semi, which we begin to notice is starting to jackknife and will ultimately block all the lanes. My Dad was ahead of us by several car lengths and managed to slip his Jeep and boat in between the semi-trailer and guardrail with not a moment to spare. We instead are now looking at the broad side of a semi-tractor/trailer with nowhere to go and a road surface with no traction. Jerry tells me and his two sons to brace ourselves (we had thankfully put on our belts upon exiting the tunnel and seeing the blizzard) and proceeds for the left hand ditch (separating EB I-70 from the elevated WB lanes) since his efforts at braking were ineffective. He manages to ditch the Ramcharger/boat and avoid the side of the semi, but several other cars hit it. Surprisingly enough, the boat stayed hitched and the only damage to the Ramcharger was a bent cross-car tie rod and an exhaust tip that was bent upwards. We actually got the Ramcharger and boat out of the ditch (separately)and proceeded on our way after what seemed like an hour-plus delay. Glad to be alive after that.

    I was driving in my ’88 Merkur Scorpio on the Pennsylvania turnpike late one night going between Michigan and Maryland. Traffic was nonexistent and I’m moving along comfortably above the 55 mph speed limit. I come around a blind corner only to realize there is a mid-70’s Ford LTD wagon sitting square in the right lane, dead as a doornail with no hazard lights on and no one in or around the vehicle that I could see, given the few moments I had to assess the situation. I thank my lucky stars that the Merkur had above average handling capability for a large sedan and excellent brakes as I was able to brake and swerve out of the way to the left in the nick of time, but I was sure shaken up for quite a few miles after that.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I had two that were truly scary. The first one was about 1985, in my heavily modded ’79 Trans Am. It was a rainy night and I was going to a friend’s house on the west side of Toledo on I475. I still don’t know what happened, but I was approaching an overpass and suddenly, my car spun at least twice while going about 55MPH, and I narrowly missed the guardrail and another car that passed me mid spin. It ended with the front of the car pointing the right way, and except for my heart pounding like a machine gun, I was fine. I got off at the next exit.

    The second one was about 1998 in my ’93 Grand Cherokee. I was on the AW Trail, almost to Copland, Blvd, and as I approached the intersection, the light went red, and I saw a truck in front of me start sliding around suddenly for no apparent reason. As I applied the brakes, I smelled why, there was a huge amount of coolant all over the intersection, and I started sliding too. I almost hit the truck that was still sliding too, but somehow we missed contacting each other. I ended up on the median with no damage, and I called 911 to advise them about it. A Toledo PD squad car slid through the intersection and they told me they had the fire dept coming out to “take care of it”. As the policeman was getting out his flares to put down, a car slid through the intersection, got sideways and then “stuck” and rolled over. The driver crawled out of his totalled car unhurt, wondering what had happened. I got the hell out of there and soon afterwards, the FD washed it down or whatever they did and put sand all over the place.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I’ve told this tale on here before, but it is still, by far, the closest call I have ever had.

    Southbound on I-495 in MA, around Andover. Mid-morning, just after some thunderstorms so the sun is out but the road is wet. 75mph moderate traffic. I’m about five car lengths or so behind a pickup in the left lane in my Saab 900SET. On the other side of the median, I see a big explosion of brown mud – I start braking. This resolves into a semi crossing the median (50′ or so wide, bushes and small trees)! I get HARD on the brakes as the semi comes completely across the median and absolutely annihilates that pickup that was in front of me. Semi ends up across all three lanes of I-495, perpendicular to the road. I end up stopped about four feet from the side of the trailer. I duck across the passenger seat, absolutely certain I am about to be rear-ended right underneath that trailer. But amazingly, everyone got stopped around me. Was able to pick my way across the roadway and go the wrong way up an on ramp to get off the highway. The pickup truck was just disintegrated.

    I found out on the news that night that a car on the northbound side had hydroplaned into the semi and broke its steering axle. The poor driver was just along for the ride at that point. The guy in the pickup died on impact (no kidding, they probably had to suck him out of what was left with a shopvac). By some miracle, no other vehicles involved. Still gives me the shakes just thinking about it, and I can replay the whole thing in slow motion in my mind.

  • avatar
    road_pizza

    How’d I miss this one? Way back in the winter of ’82-’83 my father had some legal research to do for a case (he was an attorney) in Colorado Springs and he asked me if I’d go with him to split the driving (he didn’t like to fly) and being . We packed up the ’81 Concord and headed out from Lakewood, OH to Colorado. Stopped for the night in Topeka, woke up the next morning to a budding winter storm. Heading west on I-70 the weather kept getting worse and worse and worse. Somewhere in the hinterlands while traveling at maybe 35mph I hit a spot where a road grader had cleaned the snow off the highway and exposed a nice ice patch which caused the Concord to immediately spin out. Came to a stop at a 90° angle to traffic… with a sliding 18 wheeler heading right for us! The Concord stopped right on said ice patch and it refused to move, the rear tire (no Posi on that “prices start at” special!) spinning in a vain hunt for traction. Somehow at about the last possible second it caught traction and spun out of the 18 wheeler’s path with maybe a foot and a half to spare. Scared the living bajeebus out of my father and me.


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