I don’t like driving, never have, really, yet I do it all the time. I particularly dislike driving in the rain, and in the rain, at night, yeuch!
This week I found myself out and about late at night on one of the motorways near where I live and could have died. I didn’t – no kidding – otherwise you would be having coffee alone right now!
The weather was terrible – dreadful winds and driving rain and it was dark. Wipers were on full and the red lights from the cars in front stretched out in front of me.
I should admit right here that have a tendency to drive at the speed limit but because of the weather, I had set cruise control at 100 kph simply and was in the outer lane because I wanted to get home quickly. The lights on the far side of the motorway from cars and trucks traveling the opposite way were at times dazzling and on more than one occasion I had to flash a vehicle to get it’s driver to come off high-beam.
Up ahead was an exit. Not mine.
Next thing I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. Coming straight for me, in my lane, the outer, fast lane was a car HEADING THE WRONG WAY!
The closing speed between us must’ve been 200 kmh.
For a split second I thought I was dreaming, but then I had to stop thinking and react. I braked, flashed him, hit my hazard lights switch and veered to my left to avoid what would have been a head-on collision for sure. Thankfully I had just changed my tires two weeks ago.
I couldn’t believe it.
By this stage, I was traveling much slower. I flashed and flashed and honked my horn as he drove past me and watched in my rear view mirror to see what would happen, hoping and praying that all would be ok. I saw more and more vehicles veering left, flashing head and hazard lights as they did so. Finally several hundred metres behind me I saw his brake lights come on and watched as he began a U-turn back to safety. Nobody was hurt, thank God.
When I refocused up ahead, I realized several cars had pulled in and stopped for fear of what could have unfolded. Drama over, I drove on and was very grateful to get home safe and an hour or so later.
Thinking about if afterwards, I figure what had happened was that, in the storm, he (or she) had taken the OFF ramp ON to the motorway. He then drove in the left lane which would have been completely correct except for the fact it was a motorway with two lanes running each direction and he was heading the wrong way. It could have been fatal. Thank God it wasn’t.
So, what did I think about? As it unfolded, nothing truthfully. I just reacted, slowed, survived and drove on. Afterwards however I began thinking about some of the lessons we can learn from it.
The first thing that struck me was the storm was outside my control. That is life. You and I can be doing our best, trying our hardest and yet life will present us with storms to weather, the make-up of which doesn’t really matter in that the storms could be health, wealth, relationships, etc. Storms happen. We need to make friends with that fact.
The second thing I thought of was that eventually the storm abated and it was calm again, in other words, this, too, will pass. Whatever you are going through right now will pass; at some point you will be looking at it in your rear-view mirror and from that perspective it will look very different.
The trick is to slow down, stop if you must, regroup and then go again – life’s storms are not intended to stop you in your tracks, they’re just there so you can prove to yourself that you are a survivor. And you are. You have survived everything life threw at you thus far, you will survive whatever storms lie beyond your horizon today so long as you don’t give up.
What you can’t legislate for is what other people do, whether by accident (it appears the driver of the car entered the motorway in the wrong direction by accident) or by design – some people may attempt to thwart your progress for their own reasons – don’t let them.
Your life is yours to live. Live it. Metaphorically speaking, don’t live in morbid fear of some idiot driving at you in the wrong direction – I’ve been driving for forty years and this is the first incident of this type – instead trust that if or when something happens, that you are more than enough to handle it.
My sister quoted my brother-in-law to me. She said, he said “Everything becomes a sentence.” Beautiful phrase. Everything, eventually, does become a sentence. While I was navigating the drama the other night, I was in it. Now it has become a sentence; “I managed to avoid a 200 kph head-on collision during the week.” Thank God.
What are you going through today? What will your sentence read like when you are on the other side?
- Life’s storms are often outside your control
- Everything becomes a sentence
… so long as you just keep moving.
Thanks for thinking with me.
Watch | Listen | Read | Think.
Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:
- What happened when Mandy decided to become a fighter jet pilot – click here.
- The Day Has Yet To Reveal Itself – 3 life-hacks from Colin Farrell – click here.
- Two (and a half) Lessons I took from a misty mountain hike with a friend – click here.
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