About ten years ago, I was driving home from a restaurant. My wife was riding shotgun. It had rained earlier and I drove through a big puddle. Suddenly, I realized that my breaks didn’t work.
They failed at the top of a steep hill, and as we descended, we started speeding up. I pressed the break pedal to the floor, but nothing happened. I tried messing with the emergency break and the stick shift, but nothing worked.
To my right was speedy, oncoming traffic. To my left was a high brick wall that ran parallel to the road all the way down. There were some side streets that broke through the wall, but they were at 90-degree angles to the road I was on, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to turn quickly enough to enter them without slamming into the wall.
Ahead, at the bottom of the hill, I could see we were coming to a busy intersection. If the lights weren’t in our favor, I knew we’d fly through it and slam into anything crossing at the time.
What made all this worse is that it happened slowly enough for us to discuss it. We debated jumping out of the car, but it seemed obvious we’d die. I watched the speedometer climb. 50, 60, 70, 80…. I told my wife I loved her and shes said she loved me.
As I honked wildly, we sped through the intersection, just missing a big truck. On the other side, the road flattened out and gradually began to slope uphill. The car slowed and, before long, I was able to turn into a parking lot and circle until the car slowed to a halt.
We stayed there for a long time, clinging to each other, our hearts thumping.
Shortly after this, we sold the car. I don’t drive any more.
Entry filed under: Scary.