Montana Outdoors

August 29, 2008

Close call

Filed under: Montana — montucky @ 7:09 pm

On the crash report form, following the words, “Fatality Involved”, the responding Highway Patrol Officer checked the box, “No”.

Peripheral vision to the right side showed a flash of a small, silver car proceeding directly into my path at a ninety degree angle: at 55 MPH there’s not a lot of time to make a decision. Two events must not be allowed to happen; strike the car directly in the driver’s door, or cross the center line into oncoming traffic.

Because I was in the right lane, there was a slight window of opportunity; a very sharp veer to the left to avoid direct impact followed immediately by a veer back to the right to keep from crossing the center line. It worked.

There was an impact causing a sudden spin to the right and a hundred-foot slide sideways down the highway, then backwards, then to a stop. Upright. No injuries in either vehicle.

Some would call this sort of thing bad luck. I called it a little bad luck with a whole big bunch of good luck! I’ll take that kind any day!


  1. :O

    I’m so glad to hear you are okay. What a frightening experience it must have been for you. You did a fine job of proactive defensive driving. I’m just so happy for you, for your family, for the other driver…all’s well that ends well.


    Comment by Tabbie — August 29, 2008 @ 8:24 pm

  2. Thanks, Tabbie!

    I was just happy that circumstances gave me a little bit of control, and this is now the third time in my lifetime I’ve been lucky enough to use a similar maneuver to avoid an accident. Actually each winter after the first good snow I take the Jeep out to a back-road remote area and practice slides both the the right and to the left, but of course that’s not something that can be practiced on dry blacktop roads.


    Comment by montucky — August 29, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  3. Holy sh**. I’m so glad you’re okay. Sounds like you saved the other person’s life, too.

    So glad.


    Comment by Patia — August 29, 2008 @ 10:41 pm

  4. Oh my God! I’m so glad you’re okay!! It does sound as though you saved the other driver’s life as well.


    Comment by Sara — August 29, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  5. Patia and Sara,

    Thanks for your concern. Defensive driving and practiced skills really pay off as they did in this case, and made a difference where there was at least a opportunity. I guess it also illustrates how little control we actually have at times, too. A minor problem and a major problem were separated by only about one second.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 8:16 am

  6. “Whew”. I bet that’s what you said when you stopped skidding.

    I’m thrilled that you have marvelous reflexes. What would I do for my impressionist photo fix?


    Comment by Pinhole — August 30, 2008 @ 9:10 am

  7. Thank God you are OK!

    Sadly, no matter where we live, we all must drive defensively these days. It’s not a lot of fun for the driver cause you don’t get to see a lot of the beautiful scenery that this country has to offer. But, better to miss the scenery than to miss one’s life!


    Comment by Janet Wilkins — August 30, 2008 @ 9:45 am

  8. what a blessing! glad you and the others involved are all okay!


    Comment by silken — August 30, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  9. That’s close to what I said, Pinhole. Actually it was kind of nice to look around and not see the long line waiting in front of the pearly gates.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  10. Janet,

    Yes, I’m a big believer in defensive driving and have thoroughly trained myself and my family members in it. Every time I take my Goldwing out on the highway, within the first 10 miles I practice a veer technique similar to what I used there. It then becomes a reflex, and I see it also carries over to driving a Jeep!


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 4:11 pm

  11. Silken,

    Yes, that would have been a senseless loss of life. The other driver was seriously at risk, much more than I was. We were both very happy though to be completely uninjured.


    Comment by montucky — August 30, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  12. I have to ask: Was your car injured?

    Thank goodness you weren’t.



    Comment by knightofswords — September 1, 2008 @ 3:03 pm

  13. Just got back from a camping trip and ,… WHEW! I didn’t expect to find this when i tuned into your blog. I am so very glad that you as well as the other driver are ok. Having been in an accident several years ago i know that it can happen in the blink of an eye. I’m breathing a sigh of relief for you!


    Comment by Cedar — September 1, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  14. Malcolm,

    A little damage to the right side where the other car hit the step and the rear wheel, and a crease on the left side just ahead of the door where I hit a road sign. Have to have the suspension checked though after sliding sideways onto a median. All quite minor under the circumstances.


    Comment by montucky — September 1, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  15. Thanks, Cedar. Yes, they happen quickly! If there has to be one, it’s good to be like this one was!


    Comment by montucky — September 1, 2008 @ 7:51 pm

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