14 August 2009

“We cheated death”

I was planning on going to the South Padre Island beach today and showing a student a bit about sand crabs.

Didn’t make it.

About a half hour into the drive, I noticed a truck in the lane to my right suddenly had smoke coming from the driver’s side front wheel well and started to swerve towards my lane.

Blown tire
“Well there’s your problem right there.”

The tire on the truck had blown out. I tried to get out of the way, but failed. We hit each other. He skidded towards the barricades (and thought he was going to go over), I skidded and stopped straddling the two center lanes of traffic. But the only things either of us hit were each other, which was good considering the circumstances.

Car damage
The picture shows the good news about this whole thing: relatively minor damage to both vehicles, everyone fine, both vehicles still drivable. The other driver, Juan, was about as composed as could be expected, but did say at one point, “We cheated death.”

And with a highway speed tire blowout, I can’t really disagree with him. It could have been one hell of a lot worse. As it was, it was just one step up from a fender bender. My body didn’t even kick up an adrenaline rush, let alone the whole “life flashing before my eyes” or pithy last thoughts.

Police car on highway
I made a few phone calls (luckily, I had mine with me; the other guy didn’t) to my insurance company, who gave me the local police department number so I could report the accident.

Officers on scene
And so we were later joined by a couple of fine Mercedes police officers who took our accident report, and stayed around to help the other driver until someone could show up to help replace the tire. He had a spare, but not a jack to lift the truck.

So I phoned my student and a few others to let them know, and headed back home rather than risking a longer round trip, in case there was some hidden damage to the car that might act up on a longer trip.

So that was my morning.

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