Close-Calls

2004_07_08_pickup_load.jpgI saw this pickup truck carrying a rather precariously-situated load earlier tonight and couldn’t resist snapping a photo. I mean seriously, would you drive behind this ass-clown? Like I’m going to trust a thin strip of nylon to keep those boxes from falling out of there and hitting my car!

I ask this question because I’ve had recent two close-calls where I’ve avoided potential accidents because I didn’t drive behind the vehicles in question:

  • Driving on the 5 South towards Burbank, there was a flatbed tow truck, carrying a car, in the lane to my left. Suddenly, the front bumper(!) from the car on the flatbed suddenly flew off and fell somewhere behind the tow truck.
  • Driving on the 170 South towards Universal City, there was a multi-level car-carrier, carrying several cars, in the lane to my right. Suddenly, a windshield flew off one of the cars it was carrying and fell behind the semi truck.

I didn’t bother looking behind me to see if anyone got hit from the flying debris. I was pretty much in a different mental place at those times, just relieved by my lucky karmic goodness that my car didn’t get hit!

I’ve also had a few close-calls where drivers have rear-ended the cars in front of them, and those accidents have usually happened on surface streets and in the neighboring lane as well. And since I’ve usually had my windows down when they’ve happened, the sickening and sudden sound of metal crunching against metal is particularly loud.

Anyone have other similar close-calls? :o

13 Replies to “Close-Calls”

  1. I almost hit a couch in the middle of the 10, once! It was inky dark and I was barely able to pull a Han Solo maneuver to avoid the errant furniture when my headlights alerted me to the immediate situation.

    Yet one more reason I hate cars!

  2. “Whatever” ought to probably spend a little more time in front of a computer to avoid typos like, say, “shoudl.”

  3. Don’t worry about it, Bob. The fact that the Anonymous Coward didn’t have the balls to post as (presumably) himself pretty much says it all.

  4. the scariest that comes to mind happened to my ex

    when a rake –
    (hard-cast type, not the comparatively gentle/friendly kind commonly used for gathering leaves) – came flying, end-over-end, toward him on the 10 fwy – offering him a potentially fatal encounter via the windshield – w/no viable exit strategy

    and tho’ i have been criticized for not wishing him ill in general,
    i am still glad fate spared him that day

    (‘cos that would just be icky – at best)

  5. Approaching a green light the other day, heard the “sickening crunch” and suddenly had to slam on the brakes to avoid the power line that dropped into the lane directly in front of me. Look to the left to see the steaming wreck at the base of a concrete light pole which is toppling towards my car. It fell a few feet short but it was a bit intimidating. Both doors popped open simultaneously and the driver and passenger bailed and ran away, the driver returned after a minute or so to shut off the screaming engine but wandered around too agitated for anyone to talk to until the ambulance arrived about ten minutes later. Didn’t really consider that he would have t-boned us if not for the pole until about an hour later.

    Cheers, Ted

  6. I have a close call at least a few times a week… and not in the fender bender sense, more so in the paralyzed if i’m lucky sense I am the asshole you probably hate, blowing by at 105 in the carpool lane on the 110. Not so long ago, when driving from New Mexico to l.a. i hit a semi-truck tire that was laying on the fwy while i was going a conservative 95mph. My car spun around 3 or 4 times before i banked it [literally] 3/4 of an inche from the guard rail over a 30ft bridge dropoff. Recently I was on the 101 south (right after Highland, before Sunset where it’s really fast for a minute before hitting all of the Sunset/ Santa Monica/ Vermont traffic) and was going 60ish when i turned the corner and saw dead traffic in front of me… Went to hit the brakes but they failed and I was quickly approaching the rear ends of a lot of cars… I had to pop my ride in neutral and slowly pull the e-brake while waving the wheel back and forth (this slows your momentum) to be able to stop without hitting anyone. Then i had to get off the fwy and drive home slow enough to be able to use my e-brake because my master cylinder went out. good times though!
    Oh, and there are also the daily occurances where i’m passing in the far right/parking lane (especially on Sunset and La Brea, where you can double your speed if you’re confident) and someone turns into the lane going really really really slow and without turn signals…. A lot of squealing tires in those situations.

  7. So it didn’t happen here in LA, but a couple of years ago on New Year’s Eve I was driving home from work on a busy, wide thoroughfare similar to Santa Monica or Sunset when a pick up truck in the oncoming traffic lost its load, a queen sized mattress. The mattress flew from the bed over the front of the truck, stood up straight in the middle turning lane and then proceeded to fly forward landing underneath my car within a matter of seconds. I watched said truck drive off without even a pause.

    The mattress crumpled up like a pillow in my front passenger wheel well and my car ground to a halt going from 40 mph to 0 in about 15 feet. The traffic which had prevented me from avoiding the accident proceeded around my car even passing into the left hand turn lane to go around.

    For a few seconds, I shook like jello and had a moment of hysterical, WTF-type laughter before trying to sit and figure out who to call- AAA, the police? Did I need to file an accident report? Could I get towed with a mattress stuck in my wheel well? Finally after five, ten minutes, a some good samaritans stopped to help- a nice lesbian couple with a brand shiny, new, big red truck. The driver exited took one look at my car and excitedly asked if she could tow my car.

    So we evaluated the situation, raising the hood and peering inside the engine and decided that the situation was such that towing was not really an option. It would only drag the car and mattress together, and there was not any way to get the tow hooks attached either. In the meantime, my old clunker was still exhuding heat and the mattress was still right up against the undercarraige of my car. Although we couldn’t see any, we started to smell smoke. Considering I had a friend in Boston whose minivan literally burst into flames from an oil leak (thank maude he wasn’t in the vehicle), we decided to call for the fire department.

    They came in all their regalia, agreed with the smoke smell and then preceded to push my car backwards and pull the mattress out from underneath simultaneously. Miraculously my car actually started up and I was able to pull into the parking lot of a bar across the street. The firetruck followed me into the lot and sprayed underneath my car to get rid of the mattress debris.

    The car lasted for another two month after. Eventually the head gasket blew from all the stress. And somebody spent their New Years sleeping on a box spring.

  8. I had an experience similar to K’s ex, when a shovel came flying at my car while I was driving on the 210. It missed my windshield by about half an inch, but did manage to take out my sunroof and put a nice sized dent on the roof of my car. It was definitely one of those “did that just fucking HAPPEN?” moments.

  9. 3 surfboards flew off a landcrusier in front of me, twoards my windshield-90 mph-carpool lane-on the 5 N through irvine. I was saved by my super samurai Honda sword of a car that sliced them in two. Hiiiiiiye-YAH.

  10. Jeff you’re just an accident magnet in general. Maybe because you’re snapping photos while you’re driving :-) Johnny Carson’s son died that way ya know.

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