So I was driving through the desert toward the mountains Saturday morning July 9, 2011, and a small animal, a rabbit I think, ran across the road. I tried to avoid it, but I lost control and my car skidded off the other side of the road down a five or six foot embankment. Miraculously my car came to a stop without rolling over or colliding with a Joshua tree or anything and there was no oncoming traffic and my worst fears were not realized. I walked out of my car with no injury, and my car didn’t seem to be in very bad shape aside from a couple of flat tires and possibly some damage underneath. Needless to say, I was quite freaked out about this. In fact, the first thing I saw in the sand near where my car had come to a stop was a cross which seemed to be a sort of makeshift memorial. Apparently somebody else wasn’t so lucky driving this particular stretch of road.
There is a row of three houses in the otherwise barren desert on the other side of the road where my car ended up. Residents from two of those houses who heard the screech of the accident came running out to see if I was okay. They asked me if I needed anything and offered me a cup of water. One man stayed with me until I finished making all the arrangements to get my car towed out. If you begin to think that there are no more nice people in the world, all I can say is that I suggest you visit Littlerock, California.
I think that since the last time I had an accident six months ago that I have been extra cautious in the way I drive. Not only that, but I’ve always avoided hitting animals with no difficulty in the past. This time was different. Maybe I was just lucky the other times or was too abrupt this time or something else went wrong. I think that next time I will not attempt to stop for little animals (sorry, bunnies) unless I’m positive I have enough distance to do so safely. Just minutes before this accident, another car passed me on the road going at least twenty miles per hour above the speed limit whereas I was going around the speed limit. I thought to myself that they were driving unsafely given that this road has some mild curves. Go figure that it was me and not them that actually got into an accident. But accidents are accidents, and they can’t be predicted. We can take action to mitigate the likelihood of them occurring, but it is impossible to completely eliminate them because of human error and other circumstances beyond our control. Also, driving the “speed limit” can be just as unsafe as driving way above it.
To be this lucky twice in a year has an impression on me. I feel like there must be some sort of message here. Of course, these were two independent events separated by months and occurring after a long period of not experiencing things like this and an accident can happen at any single time to any one of us using a car. Maybe this means I should drive less although these events still could have happened even if I drove half as many miles as I do. Maybe I need to take a defensive driving course. In any event, I don’t feel like I need to have anymore experiences that make me contemplate the fragility of life. I get the point already. I shudder now to think about what my insurance is going to be like after this, but obviously things could have been worse… 22 months ago