Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Grim Reaper

Almost had a short sweet meeting with The Grim Reaper. First time, and obviously not the last, otherwise I wouldn't be here to tell the tale. Driving on the M25 Friday evening around 7.30pm. Bank holiday weekend so more traffic than usual. Stop start stop start stuff. Finally get moving a bit. I'm in the outside lane, getting up to about 60 mph. I look away from the road for barely a second to grab some gum. I look back - brakelights on full red everywhere, except mine. Jam on the brakes. Skid to the left. Tyres screech, burning. Some space miraculously opens up in front of me. Instinctively try and steer out of the skid. Bad move. Lose control almost completely. Tyres burning even more. Zig-zagging across all 3 lanes thinking this is really it. All so fast not even time for the "whole life flashing past me" mini-clip ritual. Memories of driving lessons kick in subconsciously. I'm steering into the skid now. Foot still glued to the brakes. The car finally stops, stalled, just a few metres from the hard shoulder. I've done an almost complete 180 degree U-turn at 40/50 mph. I was very lucky - slow moving trucks were in the 2 inside lanes, and the cars immediately behind me had slowed right down, so I was face to face with a line of stationary vehicles. Started the engine, pulled off the road, switched off, got out, not sure whether I was in shock or not. No shaking anyway. Take a swig of water. Roll a ciggie. Look at the tyres - seem ok. Rear offside bumper pushed a bit out by the pressure of the tyre against it I guess. But no other damage. Shock absorbers ok. Brakes working. Chilled out for 10 minutes. Drove the 80 or so miles back home in quite a relaxed state. Woke up this morning - that was enough....

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