For many of us, driving is something that we do every day. We get into our cars and head to work, school, or the store, rarely considering our chances of getting into an accident.
In reality, accidents happen every day.
With Halloween quickly approaching, we asked our staff to share their scariest driving stories. We hope you see that an accident can happen to anyone at any time, regardless of how well you are driving.
1. Sarah’s Shattered Windshield
Our case manager, Sarah Millar, shared the story of having her windshield shattered while driving down the interstate:
“It was late, and the roads were nearly empty. I got on the interstate, thankful that the busy road was finally quiet. I set my cruise control and began heading home.
The drive was mostly uneventful, but then I saw a glimpse of metal. Before my brain could even register what I saw, it was crashing through my windshield.
My brain panicked, but my body knew what to do. My foot pressed the brake, and my hands guided my car to the road’s shoulder. The other car was nowhere in sight. I immediately called my dad, knowing he would know what to do.
The next exit was an abandoned truck stop, where I waited alone, in the dark. Staring at my shattered windshield, I counted down the minutes until the tow truck and my father would arrive.”
2. Mallory’s Terrifying T-Bone Accident
Our intake coordinator, Mallory Redmon, was T-boned on her way to church by a distracted driver. She tells the story:
“I had always heard most accidents occur close to home, but I never expected it would happen to me. Familiar roads give the illusion of safety when in reality, they are where most people let their guard down. Familiarity allows people to get comfortable, and that’s when distractions creep in.
Sunday morning at my house meant going to church, so my mom piled all the kids into the minivan for the short 3-minute drive – a drive we made every week without a second thought.
We were almost there. We could see the church from the intersection when an old pickup truck struck the side of our van. I could hear the panic in my mother’s voice asking us if we were okay. She fought through the air bags and helped us get out of the car. It all happened so quickly...
Members of our church family heard the crash and ran down to help us. Paramedics examined us, telling us over and over how lucky we were to walk away without any serious injuries.”
3. Richard’s Wrangler Nightmare
After being run off the road, Attorney Richard Dingus found himself tumbling down a mountainside in his Jeep. In his own words:
“My Jeep Wrangler used to be my pride and joy. It was the first car I ever bought on my own and I loved driving that car.
One afternoon I was headed up to the mountains to see my family. I had taken the doors off and was enjoying the sun setting over the trees.
Shortly after the sunset, it was pitch dark – no street lights, no traffic – just my headlights illuminating the road ahead of me.
I was navigating a tight curve up the hill when a car coming from the opposite direction decided to overtake the person ahead of them. They swerved into my lane to do so. I tried everything I could to avoid hitting them head-on, but the narrow mountain roads are so unforgiving.
My Jeep flipped and started rolling down into a valley, tossing me around inside. My seatbelt clung tightly to my body and the airbags helped cushion some of the impact.
When my Jeep finally came to a halt, I was dizzy, and my head was pounding. I made my way out of the car and could hear moving water. A couple more flips could have forced me into the river. I was only a few more flips from catastrophe. It was the scariest thing that has ever happened to me in a car and I think about it whenever I drive in the mountains.”
4. Enzo’s Inferno
On his way home from work, Records Assistant Enzo Trabucco’s “new and improved” classic Volkswagen Beetle burst into flames. As he puts it:
“I had just taken my classic Volkswagen Beetle to the shop to have a new engine put in. I went to pick it up, expecting it to run better than it ever had before. I headed home and it ran like it was brand new.
The next day, I drove it to work, taking the highway to really let it run. I left the office late that day. It was already dark when I locked up. On the way home, I noticed something was off. Something smelled like it was burning. I glanced in my mirrors and saw smoke.
I pulled over and jumped out of the car. I could see flames creeping through the cracks of the engine compartment. I stepped back and dialed 911 as I watched my classic Volkswagen Beetle become devoured by the flames.”
5. Jared’s Jumping Deer
On a family road trip, Attorney Jared Pierce was inches away from a terrible accident. His memory of the incident is still detailed to this day:
“My father woke my siblings and I up, yelling, ‘ROAD TRIP!’ These were words we all loved to hear, so we had a quick breakfast before jumping in the car. My siblings and I passed the time talking, listening to music, and playing ever more complicated road trip games. My father, forever patient, attentively navigated the roads, occasionally dropping what we now know to be ‘dad jokes.’ Still, amongst all this road trip excitement, my father always ensured that our safety was his highest priority.
I recall the sun slowly starting to descend to my left. I vividly remember my brother unbuckling his seatbelt to reach into the back of the station wagon. I distinctly recollect the sound of my father singing as passionately as he could to the lyrics of Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s, “Hey Jude,” distractedly swaying his head to the chorus.
It happened in a flash – a massive deer darted out in front of the car. My father hardly reacted but managed to keep us all safe. To this day, I have no idea how we missed that animal that evening. Hours away from the nearest town, not a streetlight for miles. That moment was the closest I have even seen my father to tears.
I know how beautifully sad the lyrics are and how it was written as a ballad, but every time I hear The Beatles sing, “Hey Jude,” I think about my family’s closest call…”
Many people have close calls every day, but these near-accidents are often forgotten. Less serious accidents, in which no one was injured, can also be easily overlooked once the property damage has been handled.
We encourage you to commit these moments to memory and use them as learning opportunities. Every once in awhile, it’s good to remind yourself that driving can be dangerous.
Accidents can happen in the blink of an eye – on familiar streets or far from home.
We cannot control other drivers, animals, or objects on the road, but we can control our actions and reactions. Staying calm and focused is an important part of safe driving.
Join us in our mission to be safe, attentive drivers every time we get behind the wheel.
Our staff has been very lucky to have walked away from our accidents with nothing more than a scary story and bad memories, but we know that not everyone is so fortunate.
If you have been injured in an accident, we are here to help.
Call us at (919) 887-7892 or contact us online for more information on how we can help you with the aftermath of a car accident and guide you through the legal process.
We hope that you and your family have a happy Halloween, and that all your horror stories are strictly imaginary.
Be safe and drive carefully!