Ghost Car

Sometimes life is just stranger than fiction.

This evening while coming home from Minden, we (fellow instructors Traci, Michelle and I) had an interesting and rather scary moment when we met a Ghost Car. Driving in Pea Soup thick fog (Traci was driving, I was in the front passenger seat, with Michelle in the back), when out of nowhere, a dark red car rolled into the street in front of us. Our speed was appropriate for the conditions but this thing just “came out of nowhere”. I think I spotted it first as it came at us from the left of the road and I shouted it out to Traci. But in a fraction of a second, I realized we were going to T-Bone it anyway even though Traci was hard on the brakes. Had we hit that car, it would have been full airbag deployment for us.

I told her to turn more, but it I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. I reached over and yanked hard on the wheel taking some control of the car. Not something I would ever normally do to a fellow instructor but in this case…I had too. We veered around it’s back end and the other car came to a stop in the middle of the road inches away from hitting our front left quarter panel and drivers side door. It just stopped. Nobody was in it. It wasn’t running. No lights at all. Just a Ghost in the night. It was a very close call for us and our combined training and skill prevailed. Had it been a car with average drivers in it, and not the advanced instructors that we are, things would have turned out very differently. The whole event, from start to finish, was only about three seconds.

Fortunately the cars behind us were able to avoid hitting us. After a few seconds of sitting there in shock I told Traci to gun it and get out of here. Knowing how bad the fog was, I figured it was only a matter of time before another car comes along, who would no doubt be driving way too fast for the conditions and I didn’t want us to be part of a multi-vehicle crash. At this point, we had three of us stopped on the road (us partially on the shoulder). The place was well lit up from all our headlights and that served a car coming from the other direction well because he was able to see the Ghost Car blocking the road. Not soon enough though and they T-Boned it lightly.

The driveway that the Ghost Car came from had a steep slope to it and I’m guessing it was a standard transmission car and although the parking brake was on, it was not “in gear” and the slope was too steep for the parking brake alone to hold the car on that hill, but the parking brake being engaged would explain why it didn’t continue rolling into us.

What’s really scary is when you think that it took the combined skills and reflexes of two advanced instructors to avoid this one. An average driver wouldn’t have had a chance and it would have been a nasty, painful, crash.

I say in the classroom over and over…process information, look for the threats. I give LOTS of examples for the “What if?” but this?? I would have never thought of this one, happening in the worst possible conditions, in Pea Soup fog. You just can’t make this stuff up!

Now in the classroom…I’ll be talking about the Ghost Car in the fog!

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