Near death experiences sure make you appreciate life.
We hop on the turnpike and I put on my cruise control and set it to 70 since that's a pretty safe speed on the turnpike that the Stateys generally don't bother people about. I usually stay in the center or left lane because I really hate being that left lane driver that's slowing down what's supposed to be the passing lane. So for now, I decided to hang in the center lane since there was a long drive ahead of us.
A little after Exit 9, I notice that the car in front of me is driving maybe 60 or 55 so I check to see where I can change lanes. Since both the left and right lanes were clear, I decided to go into the right lane. This was the point of the turnpike where there was one of the many service areas. As we pass it I see two cars coming off the service area ramp about to enter the right lane. I see there's no room to move back into the center lane unless I slowed down and let the center lane cars pass. So, I shut off my cruise control and let my car slow down by itself to let the center lane cars pass so I could get back in and not get caught behind the cars merging from the service area. As the center lane cars pass, I check to see if there's anyone else in the center lane. It's clear, so I signal, then move over.
A few seconds later, I see in my mirrors a car in the left lane about to overtake me, but it looked really close. Then suddenly, Pat and I both see that car make a hard right as it tries to overtake me and begin spinning out. Calmly and instinctively, I hit the brake and watch as the car in front of me does a 360 into my lane then swerve a bit into the right lane. I was half expecting to either hit him or watch him t-bone into the right lane concrete divider so I brace for a horrendous possibility and remain calm. As I was braking, I quickly checked my mirrors and switched into the right lane as the car in front of me was spinning about wildly.
Somehow, the both of us ended up in the right lane so I pull into the shoulder and put on my hazards. He's in the shoulder as well. I begin slowing down expecting him to also slow down and stop. I wanted to be sure he was okay. As I was about to come to a complete stop, he decides to speed off and quickly merges back into the right lane. By the time I too had merged back into the right lane, he was long gone.
I will shaking after all of that, but still remarkably calm. Pat and I guessed that he was all right and possibly sped off because he knew it was his fault. I'm pretty sure he could see I was behind him in the shoulder with my hazards on while his were not. We didn't get into an accident which is the most important thing, especially considering this was turnpike speed (65 MPH) and a collision would definitely not had been a good thing for anyone. Pat offered to drive, but I told him I was okay and just a little shaken up. We kept going, got his parts, stopped a bit in Edgewater and DigitalPress then chilled at his house afterward.
Not going to lie, it was a scary experience and a million thoughts raced through my head at the moment it was happening. I painted at least 5 different outcomes in the split second it happened and luckily, what had happened was the one that did not involve an accident.
What a day.