Thursday, July 22, 2010

Warning: Obects in windshield are closer than they appear

I have had the worst best luck the past few weeks while commuting to and from work. Seriously - I called my husband last night on my way home and asked him what I could have done to set all of this off! Luckily I have not been hurt (yet) but each time has been such a close call!

It all started several weeks ago. I had dropped the girls off at the babysitter's house and was almost back to the interstate. I was on a very busy five lane highway with TONS of semi traffic. Imagine combining the best retail/restaurant area on this side of the city, two major travel centers, a hospital, and so much just 'in general" traffic and and interstate ramp or four and you can imagine where I was. There was a pickup truck up ahead of me that was loaded down like someone was moving. All of a sudden, a metal shelving unit (the kind sold for workshops and garages) comes flying off the truck, and into the air straight at my car. I brake, and it crashes to the road several feet in front of me. I slam on brakes (miraculously I wasn't rear-ended) and close my eyes. I stop LITERALLY an inch from the metal. The truck is way ahead at this point, at the traffic light. I start honking my horn like crazy (like that's effective. My horn has small-car syndrome. It sounds like a kids' toy.) The driver sees what happened, and backs up and removes his shelves from in front of my car. Also the police car in the parking lot next to the street saw what happened - thankfully for me, because he blocked traffic so I was able to back up and go around and get to work. Not so thankfully for the pickup driver, who was detained on the side of the road.

Then, a few weeks later, I was driving down the interstate headed home from work. Rush hour, lots of traffic. We weren't quite to the first backup spot yet, so traffic was actually moving at normal speed. There was a car in front of me, and a truck pulling a trailer in front of that car. All of a sudden, guess what happens... a 4 ft by 4 ft piece of what I thought was glass went flying up into the air.... and then started plummeting. Straight at ME. I had flashes of what a plate of glass could do at that speed/distance. I panicked. Hard. The car in front of me swerved onto the shoulder, but by that time the sheet of glass was crashing to the highway. I also went to the shoulder, but ended up driving over part of it. Thankful again for brakes on cars - I was able to slow just enough that it hit right in front of my car. And it turned out to be plexiglass, not actual glass, thank goodness. It didn't shatter like glass would. Also very lucky I wasn't rear-ended.

Then last night - guess what happened.

We had thunderstorms and heavy rain yesterday afternoon, so traffic was moving slowly. After passing the usual slowdowns, though, the rain had stopped and traffic was moving along at a decent speed (most of us). There was one of the big trucks, like the ones ulitlites use, and construction people, and the city street furniture/branches/whatever-is-out-but-not-garbage pickup services use, in the lane next to me but a little ahead. He was speeding. Really speeding. I noticed something that looked like a hammer up in the sky, and thought "that's odd." Then it started to fall... quickly. It was a freaking PUSH BROOM. Seriously - something else flying off a truck in front of me. Again - very lucky. It landed in the lane next to me (RIGHT next to me) and there wasn't a car in that spot. Push brooms bounce really far, too, by the way. The driver never saw what happened. He was going so fast I couldn't even see him after about 30 seconds.

I wonder if I should start telecommuting... this driving thing is getting scary.

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