Friday, March 19, 2010

There is a table on the interstate.

Wednesday evening, I drove a routine route that I have covered hundreds of times before. Being in a bit of a hurry and in very light traffic, I sped up to about 80mph on the interstate (the local limit is 65). In the darkness, a set of headlights quickly overtook me, going somewhere around 100. As he quickly passed, I realized it was a police car. Oops. But he never turned on his lights and just kept going -- I was lucky.

I kept going, now at a more reasonable 70mph. Soon my exit was approaching, and I slowed down to 65 as I came up behind a truck. The truck kept on his way, I turned the wheel, and suddenly found myself about 30 feet away from a table. It was right at the opening to the exit ramp, where I had not seen it from behind the truck.

Of course, a reasonable person might have pulled back onto the interstate and taken the next exit. A redneck with a truck might have hit the table just for fun. I do not drive a truck, and apparently I am not always reasonable. I pulled farther to the right to go around the table ... at 65mph, mind you. The turn was too fast, I was losing traction, and there was a guard rail to my right, so I hit the brakes and swung the wheel hard left and then hard right. If you are an avid driver, race fan, or physics nerd, you know what happened. For the rest of you, well, I launched my car into a 180 degree, four-wheel skid around the table, bringing the car neatly to rest in the shoulder with a little less rubber on my tires but no damage done.

All in all, it was easily the most risky drive I've taken on the interstate. Also, do NOT try this at home. I am dead serious -- at that speed, if you make a hard turn without backing off the brakes your car will do a barrel roll. While that's entertaining in Mario Kart, I do have to insist you not try it in real life.