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Tuesday morning was a horrendous traffic day for everyone, I think. The end of the three-day weekend, the colleges are back in session, and of course, the people coming home from a four-day weekend were on the road. It is no wonder that traffic was stop and go down the freeway, it was expected. However, I did not expect to almost run into a big rig.

Some mornings my mother and I car pool to save gas. Luckily, last Tuesday morning, she was driving, or else I may not be here to post this story. We got to use the car pool lane of course, so we were flying down the freeway toward Sacramento, until the car pool lane ended. We made our way over to the right because our exit was coming up. My mother decided to get off the freeway before her exit and take some city streets to her office, the traffic was THAT bad. We were in the exit only lane exiting the freeway when a big rig in the right lane of the freeway veered into the space between the exit and the continuing freeway, he jack-knifed and took down the exit sign. My mother assured me that we weren’t even close to being hit, but the sign almost hit us. I was scared out of my wits. It happened so fast, once it was over I started panicking. My mother reassured me and kept saying “It’s okay, we weren’t hit, we’re fine.”

Then she got mad at me. “You need to be able to handle situations like that!” She was really glad that she had been driving that morning, too. I have always been a nervous driver, maybe it’s because I have daily proof that driving is dangerous. The truth is, I just don’t trust other drivers around me to be as careful as I am. They take risks and unthinkingly put other people’s lives in danger. My mother gave me some good advice. In situations like that she said to let your gut take over. It may seem like it happens fast but we are built with a sense of self-preservation and if we let our instincts take over, more often then not, we’ll be better off. You should have seen my mom maneuver around the sign that was flying at us, and I don’t care what my mom says, that big rig was within three feet of hitting us, but she just kept going and got us out of danger. Looking back, something like slamming on the breaks would have made the people behind us collide with us and each other. When the time came, she knew what to do.

What would you do? What would your instincts tell you? I don’t know how I would have reacted if I had been driving, and I hope I never find out.

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