Stroll down the highway . . .

June 5, 2014 | By | 5 Replies More

Almost a nightmare tonight. I flew into St. Louis at 11:30 pm, and I was tired. I found my car at the airport and was driving about 60 mpg in the center lane of Hwy 70 toward downtown. Coming around a curve in the highway I though I saw something, and a split second later I DID see that it a man slowly walking across my lane. He was wearing a dark red top and black pants. I gave the wheel a slight nudge to the left, but not a hard tug for fear of rolling the car over. I ended up on the left side of my center lane, and missed hitting the man by less than a foot. There was no time to hit the brakes. He was not looking toward me when I almost hit him. I don’t know whether he was drunk or mentally ill. I found myself shaken up, and thanking my stars for both him and me. A couple minutes later, I thought of calling the police, but the man would have made it across the highway, or not, by then. You just don’t expect to see a person walking on a dark superhighway at night, so when I first thought I saw him, I couldn’t immediately process that it could be a person. looking back, I now see that I made an almost unconscious decision that I would not flip my car (probably a suicidal maneuver) in order to save this man. It’s a disturbing thought, made only a bit less disturbing by the fact that the entire episode lasted 2 seconds, making it impossible for me to think things through in real time.

And now, back home, I once again remind myself that an avoided tragedy is a great gift. What happened is the equivalent of me striking and killing a man on the highway, and then a magic genie coming along and using magic to undo the damage. I came so close to striking the man that it almost seems like I DID strike him . . .

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Category: Good and Evil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Brynn Jacobs says:

    Living in the heartland as I do, it’s not uncommon to see small animals or deer in the roadway on one’s drive home at night. It’s also not uncommon to see the remains of these unfortunate animals the next day after being hit by a car. Quite lucky indeed for you, things could have turned out much differently. It’s always amazing to think how much things can change in a split second if things had happened differently.

  2. Ben says:

    Just a few days ago I was about to enter a highway from a standstill at a t-intersection. I recognized that it was a dangerous intersection (npi) so I waited for plenty of space. Just as I started to pull out, I sensed a car in the closest lane was approaching abnormally fast even though it was far off. Rather than pull out just accelerate quickly, like how I normally do, I had a gut feeling and remained at a standstill. A split second later I heard (him, I assume) still gunning the engine as he whizzed by. He probably was going 95-100 mph in his beemer. I was shaken up, I dont know whether he realized how close i was to pulling out. Perhaps he saw me and figured he could swerve if I pulled out or perhaps he was not thinking.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Driving is extremely dangerous. Even everyday driving. Yet it is glamorized on TV shows and movies, even reckless driving. I’m helping my 15 year old daughter how to drive on her permit, and this danger is the foundation for her learning.

  3. Edgar Montrose says:

    Harrowing, indeed. Now imagine experiencing it all on a motorcycle.

  4. Ben says:

    I know you might think its crazy but I think that I learned to drive well by playing video games. All kinds of driving games, GTA, Stunt Driver, motorcycles, and probably all the flying games too. You get plenty of road experience with no chance of actual injury, only virtual smashes.

    When I say “drive well” I’m referring to the ability to come very close to objects without hitting them. (The reason I know I am good driver is because I did some go-carting recently. High-speed electric, indoor. I won 9 out of my races. My computed score is top 99.6 percentile.)

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