Friday, October 9, 2009

Asleep At the Wheel

My best guess is that he simply fell asleep at the wheel. We were driving home on a Sunday afternoon from a weekend with our friends, traveling down a three-lane highway. The little silver early '90s Nissan, driving in the left lane in front of us, drifted off the road into the concrete abutment. The rear driver’s side fender kissed the abutment, throwing sparks and dust. The driver must have awoken immediately and promptly overcompensated, going out away from the divider, and then slamming back into it. After the second impact, he swerved out much farther across the right lane. Fortunately, the man driving the rig which occupied that lane had seen the preceding spectacle and accelerated out of harm’s way in ample time, leaving that lane vacant. Likewise, riding in the left lane, behind the little silver Nissan, we decelerated and dropped back to allow him room. After crossing over two lanes into the right lane (and nearly off the road entirely), the driver of the Nissan overcompensated again and apparently stood on his brakes at the same time, nearly rolling the car over as it spun back across both lanes. He drove nearly straight into the same concrete abutment he’d sideswiped initially. He collided with it slightly less than head-on, just towards the passenger’s side of the vehicle, which was unoccupied. The car came to rest pointing in the wrong direction. The rig pulled over immediately, and we pulled over shortly thereafter, just in front of it, about 250 feet from the wrecked vehicle. I got out and looked back towards the wreck. The trucker was already out, talking with the young man, who was also standing outside his vehicle, apparently unhurt. The trucker was on a cell phone, presumably contacting the police. Traffic was already beginning to move past the event. Everybody was okay. Not wanting to add more people to the confusion, we got back in our car and drove off. It was a strange end to a strange weekend.

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