When I left for church this morning, it was hard to tell just what sort of day we were in for – as it has turned out, a sunny and beautiful one! Cruising down Jefferson Road on my way home, the sun had just disappeared behind my car’s roof as I approached a small Catholic church whose service – evidently – lets out around the same time our 8AM parishoners hit the road.
Scanning the small parking loop, my eyes caught the nose of a red buick as it rolled toward the exit, passing behind a large Land Rover. Covering the brake, I pulled on the high beams and tapped the horn as the front wheels emerged from behind the SUV. As the Buick’s cab cleared the truck, my speedometer was descending through 45MPH when I realized the driver wasn’t stopping. No, she wasn’t even looking. In fact, she was accelerating!
As my speedo’s needle fell past 40, I glanced into the oncoming lane of traffic and – seeing it was miraculously clear – pointed the Intrigue at the country club driveaway across the street from the church. Praying I’d get by before the oblivious elder in the Buick crossed the double-yellow-line, I angled for the left shoulder and tried the pull the car back parallel with the road.
Amazingly, in spite of the bone-dry road and my warm tires, my back wheels broke loose. Sliding driver’s-side-first toward the shoulder, I corrected as the Buick’s red nose blurred past my passenger side window. At least we cleared that, I somehow had time to think, just before thinking, aww crap, over-corrected.
Distracted by my attempt to avoid the Buick mid-correction, I had thrown my own W-body sedan (yes, the Intrigue shares the same platform as the Buick Regal) into an opposing slide. Now sliding down Jefferson passenger-side-first in the opposing lane of traffic, I increased the brake pedal pressure and let the ABS do the hard work. Steering in helped just enough to angle me onto the shoulder, and I finally came to a stop looking straight ahead at an approaching minivan. As I took a few deep breaths, shifted into park and re-started the engine, I glanced back to see the Buick driver motoring happily away, completely unaware that I had just narrowly missed taking out 2 mailboxes and a fire hydrant to keep from broadsiding her.
Needless to say, my belief that drivers over 65 should undergo mandatory vision, reaction time and gross motor function testing annually is stronger than ever. And also needless to say, I’m still proud of my Intrigue – with 99,935 miles on the odometer, she’s still just as nimble as ever!