She lost control of her car on a dark, winding road. Were her worst fears to be realized?
- Posted on Jul 9, 2014
Night driving made me nervous. I usually left it to my husband. Just before my sister’s anniversary party, though, Bob was called away by one of his parishioners. A pastor’s emergency. I couldn’t miss the party, so I took our 18-month-old granddaughter, whom we were babysitting, and went without him.
I’ll just make sure to leave while it’s still light out, I thought. But I lost track of time showing the baby off to everyone. Before I knew it, it was nine o’clock. I said goodbye, buckled my sleepy granddaughter into her car seat and took off.
Willeo Road is notorious here for its tight curves, tracing the path of the Chattahoochee River. More than a few drivers have taken a turn too fast and met a tragic end in the water. But it was the shortest way home.
I kept my eyes on the winding road, my high beams barely penetrating the darkness. We’ll be home soon, I told myself, gripping the wheel.
There was a sharp bend ahead. I must have been going faster than I thought. The van slid, tires shuddering beneath me. I panicked and slammed on the brakes. The van fishtailed. I fought the wheel but it was no use. I’m going off the road...
“Oh God, help me!” I cried.
Oof. A jarring stop. The seatbelt dug into me. It took a minute to get my bearings. We’d hit an embankment. I stared at the thick tangle of trees hugging the edge of the road. If it wasn’t for that embankment, we would’ve crashed right into them.
I could see my granddaughter in the rearview mirror, still snug and secure. I took a deep breath, reversed and then eased back onto the road.
At home I told Bob what happened. He pulled me close. “Around nine I had this strong urge to pray for your safety,” he said. “Now I know why. ” The next day, we went back to Willeo Road. Bob was curious to see where he’d almost lost us.
“There!” I shouted. Our van’s skid marks were clearly visible, veering off toward the trees. Beyond them, now that it was daylight, I could see a steep drop... and the fast-flowing Chattahoochee. No embankment. Nothing to stop anyone from going over the edge.
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