Once again, I had to turn to writing to help me grapple with the enormity of a mess I faced yesterday. Writing is therapeutic to me in that way, and putting down my thoughts on paper (or screen) works wonders.
There wasn't a blogging plan on my radar for this weekend, because my friends in Raleigh and I were supposed to be in Asheville now, enjoying the last few leaves holding out this Fall. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, or I wouldn't be typing this out. Instead, about an hour out of Lynchburg, on my way to Raleigh via US 29 S, with cars blazing at 60-70mph on the highway, a massive west-bound truck-trailer combo (I sadly never saw what the vehicle was, this is what the witnesses told me) FRIGGING pulled in front of me at an intersection, with no lights on and not even looking at the busy traffic. I saw the back of the vehicle, 2 seconds before I would hit him. I was flying at 60mph, he was dragging at 15mph. Can you imagine being 2 seconds away from a deadly crash? I was too gobsmacked to even curse or honk!
There was a car on my right, so switching lanes wasn't even an option, nor was staying on the lane. I did the only trying-to-save-myself thing I could, and that was drive left into oncoming traffic. Luckily, somewhere at the back of my head, I knew there weren't any vehicles there (yet), and since I was royally screwed any which way, I turned around, braking all the way. I banged through the uneven grassy median, hit some pole on the way, crossed the other side of the road, and ended up on the uneven elevated grass on the far side, a centimeter in front of a tree, missing an electric pole on my left and every other damn car on the way. And that's when I cursed.
After that, I was so shocked and out of it that I was actually backing out and thinking of continuing on my journey, as if nothing happened. It took a minute for that terrible realization to sneak up on me and realize shockingly, but surprisingly that I was fine, with no injury. While I tried to figure out what I was even supposed to do, two amazing Samaritans came by to help me out. They saw the whole damn thing happen, they even had had to slam down their brakes when that truck started crossing in front of them without any lights. (If you have ever faced that split indecision about whether or not to stop and help someone in an accident, trust me, stop and help them. It was the most wonderful feeling in the world to see a couple cars stop by to help me.) The ambulance came in two minutes, but I didn't need any care, and we waited 30-45 minutes for the trooper to pull in. In the meantime, the driver who caused the mayhem actually came by. I didn't know then that he was the guy, because if I did, god help him, he wouldn't have known what hit him (yeah, this is empty threat speaking, I wouldn't really have done that, but I would have loved to yell and rant at him). And funnily, what do you know, he knew everyone on the fire brigade and they were all laughing and joking. I felt pretty horrible about that later.
The trooper came by, did his investigation, and didn't even issue that guy a ticket. He said it was no one's fault that the accident happened, that's like saying hitting a skunk wasn't my fault. I don't know since when obstructing traffic (with deadly consequences) was an okay thing to do. The fact that I know the roads in Lynchburg well doesn't mean that I can close my eyes and drive. I understand that the trooper was looking for evidence of lights on the truck-trailer, since if the driver had them, I would have seen them from far back and slowed down early enough. Apparently, he did have lights, but they were not enough.
One of the guys who helped me out last night was a mechanic, and he helped patch up my car, even test drove it (can I just say how awesome that is, considering we didn't even know how the car would react?) and decided that it was driveable. It's in pretty good shape, considering, but I don't know if there are any hidden dangers. In the meantime, my friends had driven up to the home of the couple who invited me to rest, so they drove behind me all the way back to Lynchburg. Anyways, at this point, I'm waiting for my insurance company to contact his company and figure out who'll pay for fixing up my car. If I have to, I'll know what it feels like to be wronged by justice. But, I'm hoping he will pay, because I did hear it hinted that he will. We'll see.
So that was my pretty overwhelming experience last night. I was plain lucky that nothing happened to me, and that's an even scarier thought. I spent the last 24 hours reliving it, and I know that I did nothing wrong (I was even driving at 5 below the speed limit since it was raining), and reacted with the best option. That's what the witnesses told too, and if I were my mom, I would be embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage now, even to the ends of the earth. There are so many what-ifs that run through my mind, but I know that, if it wasn't me, someone else would have gone through that, because that driver will still be doing that goddamn thing at that minute, putting other people's lives at risk.