Whew! That scared me!

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Ever had one of those moments? The ones where you have to stop the car and regroup. Maybe it was something you did or didn't do, maybe it was something someone else did. Any good stories?

The only time it happened to me was back in "the day" when I was driving my 2X4 little truck on some gravel logging roads. I was pushing it pretty hard and hanging it out a little bit here and there when suddenly I hung it out a bit too far. In most places this would have been OK, but at this point there was a steep hill with no trees. If I had gone just a tires width more, I would have been over the edge in a place where no one would have found my body for probably weeks.

When the screeching stopped, (long after the wheels stopped turning) I got out, and walked around the truck a couple of times and proceeded cautiously back to wherever it was I was going.

Any good stories?
 

Kiwi_ME

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1999
Location
New Zealand
TDI
2015 Cross Polo 1.2 TSI 81kW, ex '03 Golf TDI, '82 Rabbit Diesel
Why I don't drive fast anymore ...

Back in the early 80's and right out of college I worked as a field engineer in the UK. I usually drove my own car to visit customers - a 1980 left-hand drive Mercedes with a 2.8 L straight six gasoline engine. This was a pretty basic German-spec car, no frills - a carbureted engine, manual 4-spd, heater, steel wheels, and one option - a radio. A wicked ride for 1982 England, none the less.

There were very few speed cameras in the UK in those days and like most of the other field engineers I would waste no time in getting to my destination.

On one trip on an "A" road (single lane each way) I had come up behind a line of trucks and was waiting for a convenient place to pass. Passing in a LHD car in a RHD country is difficult. My technique was to hang back so I could see past the vehicles in front and then when I thought there was a chance, accelerate hard and start the maneuvre knowing I had room to apply the brakes and cancel if needed.

A short time later we came to a long valley where I could see the road ahead for about a mile. As we entered the downhill side I immediately punched it and started passing the trucks, hoping to get all three in one shot.

As luck would have it, as soon as I started a forth truck appeared coming from the other direction. That wouldn't have been a problem in itself but I had not anticipated that the first truck I passed would think it amusing to close up the gap to the middle truck as they picked up speed on the downhill, such that I had nowhere to go!

By this time I was doing about 110 mph. The second truck had left a gap of two or three car lengths to the third, and I aimed for that gap. I scooted into the gap thinking I couldn't possibily avoid hitting the rear of the last truck with such a high speed differential, so tried to make sure I was as straight as possible for the impact. Once straight I braked as hard as possible and felt the car rise up and wobble slightly as if all the wheels were locked.

I watched the metal bar on the back of that truck come within six inches of the hood emblem, and then slowly move away. Checking the rear view mirror I saw the second truck drivers surprised face through a thick cloud of white smoke.

Aside from learning a lot about driving that day I realized what saved my ass was an intimate familiarity with the car such that I could focus on the situation and subconciously steer and brake in the precise amounts required.

This was not my last encounter with this sort of trucker antics. A few months later a similar situation happened in the other direction on a downhill blind curve and I was confronted by a car coming straight at me in my lane going about 30 mph. Myself going about 40, all I could do was turn slightly so my car spun to reduce the frontal impact. Thankfully it was a rental (Ford Cortina Mk4) and I was not injured.
 

Ed's TDI

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Jan 30, 2001
Location
Victoria, BC, Canada
TDI
2001 Bora and 2016 Touareg
I was 17 years old. It was graduation week. And I had just bought a brand new Nissan 240sx hatchback, my first vehicle purchase of any kind. I'd been saving and working 2 jobs afterschool and weekends for almost 2 years and managed to save enough for a decent downpayment that I could afford this $18000 car (although a few people in school thought my parents had paid for it for me! I can tell you that there's no way my parents would have bought me a new car!).

I was driving around the local neighbourhood with some friends and decided to acclerate down the road towards a "T" intersection to impress some people in my new car. As luck would have it, when I tried to apply the brakes, they locked up (no ABS) and we started to slide, partly due to the fact that it was raining out, partly due to the fresh tire dressing applied only hours before when I had picked up my car form the dealership, and partly because I was a young and inexperienced driver in an unfamiliar car. I decided to try and make the turn onto the adjacent street as there was a nice flat grassy lawn that I could use to cut the corner, but in the split second I made that decision, I saw there was a police cruiser with its lights on and 2 police officers questioning some other youths on the very lawn I was going to cut across! Plan 'A' was out so plan 'B' was to try coming to a stop before the cops saw me! I locked up the brakes and tried to control the slide and ended up going through the intersection, into the trees on the other side of the road, coming to a stop about 15 feet off the road, and about 6 feet short of a steep embankment. My passengers hadn't said a word the entire time and were frozen, so I got out of the car, asked them if they were alright and then began about a 6 or 7 minute stream of filth, profanity and cursing that would have made any logger blush!

Of course, during this time, the police had called for a tow-truck and came over the ask me for my license and registration (between curse words!) and began to write me up for "driving without due care and attention" and were telling me my car was likely written off and I would be going to court and paying a hefty fine and my insurance might not cover the accident. It turned out the car was fine, with only a bent front license pate and a cracked plate frame! Not a scratch in the paint! The tow truck driver said he was pretty impressed that I managed to miss all those trees and that the point of entry was a miracle because I apparently managed to slide between a telephone pole on my right and a street sign on my left (which actually collapsed my folding mirror!) with mere inches to spare!

Anyways, once the tickets were written up and the usual B.S. was over, we all drove away and went to a late-night cafe and had a bucnh of coffee and began to talk about the whole event. My friends were talking about me like I was some sort of professional stunt driver but I kept telling them it was a fluke! To this day, my old highschool friends still talk about that night and every now and again, I drive by that spot and think about what could have been!

Oh and by the way, the charges were droppped because the police came to my house a couple of weeks later at 6:00am and dragged me away in cuffs in front of my family (who had no idea what happened that eventfull night!) because I had apparently missed my court date and the judge had issued a bench warrant for my arrest. The only problem was that the Crown prosecutor had postponed the court date for a month and had sent me a letter to inform me of this, but neglected to have it removed from the docket or inform the courthouse of the postponement! Long story short, I got a letter of apology to my family and myself from the Crown prosecutor, the charges were dropped and the 2 officers that came to arrest me stopped by to apologize for the mistake.
 

Cincy_Mike

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2003
Location
Cincinnati, Ohio
TDI
Auto 2003 Jetta GLS TDI - Galactic Blue
I was going up a fairly steep hill on a two-lane road which turns abruptly to the right just before a 4-way intersection. I was in the left-hand lane in my practically-new TDI and this big truck was in the right lane a little ahead of me. I thought I could gun it past him and get into his lane so I could go straight thru the intersection. Staying in the left lane would have forced me to take a left turn. The intersection being just after a fairly sharp right-hand turn requires you to be going fairly slowly.

So I race up the hill, pass him, and about just at or after the intersection, I swerve to get into the right-hand land because my turning lane was ending. I don't know if it was just my poor handling skills or torque steer (or both) but the tires squelched and I frantically straightened up (squelching the tires again) and was able to avoid hitting the curb. That idiotic move would have been the best time to hurry and get away from the scene. Of course, the light ahead was red and I sat there red-faced and ashamed, right in front of the guy. Quite a shake-up..
 

Pevey

Veteran Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2004
Location
Texas/Mexico border-
TDI
2000 Jetta, Tornado Red
Ok, we had a several car caravan driving from Odessa, Texas to Telingua to the Worlds Chili Cook-off. 1977 or so. (Ever decide to drive six hours after getting off work to cook chili?) We had been driving forever and I was the second car in line following my friend Steve Dollar and his girlfriend in a mid-70's T-bird. We knew we were close because we were on a winding caliche road and Steve was putting a ton of dust in the air. Me and my lady friend were talking and noticed that Steve's taillights seemed to move from horizonal to vertical and drift to the right in a lazy unnatural fashion. Sure enough he had driven off the road onto a shear embankment and was very close to that magical 90 degrees where bad things happen. The embankment was made of ice chest sized bolders and Steve seemed very confused. We all got out and explored the problem as citizens of a higher learning establishment tend to do with something that defies logic. We agreed Steve would have to stay there, maybe forever. Any motion made rocks tumble down the hill. I may have omited the fact that beer was consumed. After about thirty minutes of discussion and attracting several more cars, Steve did what I expected Steve to do and he threw it into low and punched it. Rocks sprayed everywhere but he managed to get it back on the roadway. I would not have wanted to purchase his car afterwards.
We all slept in ours cars where we were told to park. In the morning I got up and noticed about ten thousand people had joined me at what was most probably the closest thing to a lunar landscape on the planet. Nothing but rocks and what looked like goat droppings. It was great fun.
 

whitedog

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 12, 2004
Location
Bend, Oregon
TDI
2004 Jetta that I fill by myself
Pevey, let me get this straight: You combined a Chili cook-off with sleeping in your car?
 

compu_85

Gadget Guy
Joined
Sep 29, 2003
Location
Springfield VA
TDI
... None :S
For me... it was probably this last fall. I was driving to school on a curvy, 2 lane road. I passed someone doing 50, then set the cruse at 60. As I rounded a corner, there was an oncoming car in my lane, passing a tractor in the oncoming lane. I slammed on my brakes... but there was still a bubble or something in there because the car pulled kinda hard to the left. I over-reacted and jerked the wheel hard to the right. The back end broke loose, and I ended up facing the opposite direction on the shoulder... with trees on either side of me. Neither the tractor, nor the car passing it stopped :/ I got out, did a quick inspection to make sure I hadn't hit anything, and after the car I had passed earlier went by, I pulled back out and went on my way. The only damage was a small rock that got stuck between the side of the rim and the tire.

-Jason
 

hagar

Veteran Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2005
Location
Columbia, SC
TDI
2002 white Jetta 5sp & 2006 Mercedes CDI
Probably the MOST scary moment in 30 years of driving is when I went offroading alone in my Nissan Pathfinder, and tried to go down this steep hill. There was an erosion ditch into which my right front wheel slid, and all of a sudden my left rear tire was 4-5 feet of the ground. I could not do anything but hold my position with my brakes, any movement and it felt that the SUV would tumble. I had the door open and was hanging out as far as I could for balance. After sitting there for like 20 minutes, I decided I had to do SOMETHING, and I let the brakes go a little at a time. A few times I thought it was flipping over, but it finally straigthened out and I made it down safely. I stopped at the bottom, and was so weak in the knees I crawled around for 20 minutes kissing the ground. This was in the middle of the summer in AZ, and I was in a spot you seldom see any people. I would have been dead meat if thePathfinder flipped.
 

bhtooefr

TDIClub Enthusiast, ToofTek Inventor
Joined
Oct 16, 2005
Location
Newark, OH
TDI
None
Not my own moment, but my dad was driving with a full load of hay in the trailer and truck (~90 bales of hay at 50 pounds apiece).

Driving at 55 in a 45.

There was a pickup stopped at a stop sign that he didn't see until he was almost in it's rear end.

Don't ask me how, but he then jerked the wheel to the right, going off road, and passed the pickup in the grass, with all five brakes (one on each truck wheel, and one on one of the trailer's axles) locked up tight, and got back on the road right in front of the truck.
 

bradfa

Veteran Member
Joined
May 1, 2005
Location
Rochester, NY
TDI
No TDIs anymore :(
Brand new Jetta TDI, picked up a week before hand. I went to Montreal just after graduation. Jetta had maybe 1000 miles on it, it was my pride and joy (still is). My first car I've ever owned (drove cars owned by my parents, but never had my own before the Jetta).

Driving in Montreal on our way out of the city to go back to the states, I didn't see a red light. The light in question was mounted on the sidewalk, about 14 feet high, but it was a 2 lane each way road, I was in the left lane, I didn't even realize there was a light. Honest mistake, but still my fault.

SUV coming across the intersection just as I entered it slammed on their brakes, as did I. Front bumper of the SUV was about 8 inches from the right fender of the Jetta when we both came to full stops. Both of us stopped in the middle of this intersection, me and the other driver just staring at each other for about a minute (or felt like it, probably only 10 seconds). Finally I waved, they waved, and I drove out of the intersection.

Most polite almost accident I've ever seen. Definitely couldn't stop shaking till we got to the US border, I cracked some joke to the patrol guy, and we got through with no questions asked. I still remember it vividly (granted only a year ago).
 

fastvicar

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2003
Location
Lancaster, PA, USA
TDI
1996 Passat, Indian Red
Seventeen years old & riding with a friend of the same age in his Plymouth Horizon. We were coming home from church across a small country road with two "hump" bridges. I had the brilliant idea that he could get some air under his tires. We took the first one at about 35mph, which did nearly nothing. The second one was taken at 55mph and was far more effective. We launched, watched the horizon rotate, then saw the ground coming towards us. His front bumper was the first thing to hit, followed (thankfully) by all four wheels. It could have been bad. Really bad.
 

jjvincent

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2002
Location
Bethlehem, PA
TDI
Jetta, 2K, Green
When I was 16, I was riding in my friends 1977 Dasher (it was brown). We were doing our usual flying around in that beast. Well, late one night ( around 1am) we were running about 80mph through a subdivision. We went around a corner and the rear end swung around. The car went sideways through three front lawns and missed about four trees. The car finally stopped in a driveway. At that point, he started it and we took off. A few days later we went back to that place and realized that someone was watching over us.

That Dasher finally met it's maker when a garbage truck ran into it while the car was parked. That Dasher was replaced by a 1977 Fox and he bought the Dasher back from the insurance company (for $200). We then transferred over the air conditioner, stereo and a few other things. Then we towed the car to the junkyard and they gave us $75 (it still ran).
 

Kiwi_ME

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1999
Location
New Zealand
TDI
2015 Cross Polo 1.2 TSI 81kW, ex '03 Golf TDI, '82 Rabbit Diesel
Back in high school sometimes my friend and I would ditch 7th period math and go off-roading in his 1967 VW Variant. There was a new freeway being built in the undeveloped area we frequented (the 805 in San Diego, Miramar Rd area) and we decided to test the top speed of the car with - and without - the air cleaner assembly. After about 4pm the place was deserted and the unfinished concrete freeway surface looked inviting. It was rough, without the final concrete layer, but good enough to drive on as far as you could see in the distance. We did one run south and hit about 80. On the return run north we hit about 85 and were trying to get that last little bit out of it while going up a slight rise when all of a sudden the concrete ended! We went flying off the end of the concrete base, about a 1-ft drop, then bounced along the roughly-graded dirt with the brakes full on. By the time we came to a stop we were just a few feet from the edge of a cliff going down about 100 ft to some railway tracks (Sorrento Valley.) We were totally shocked at our near-death experience, but even more shocked that the car ran faster with the air cleaner in place!
 

SoaceMunky

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Location
Webster, TX
TDI
Blue Anthracite Golf IV, 13 miles and counting ;)
speaking of those moments, i remember reading this last week, hoping not to share any...but what do you know...last night on the turnpike...out of frigging nowhere, after traveling around 70-80 for the past 20 miles in regular retarded traffic, this jeep who i've been having a hard time not tailing in the left late alluvasudden blips his brakelights and dodges to the right.
in front of me, probably less than fifty yards, i see a line of cars, the last five piled up on eachother.
i didnt even have time to get my foot off the accelerator, all i remember is cutting it to the right, (i dont know how i made it between those cars, but i hold my golf responsible) downshifting, and then screaming profanities at the stopped traffic.
:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:stupid people need to quit breathing:mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

REMMEMBER KIDS, KEEP YOUR #$&^ING DISTANCE!!!
and people who dont...FU! you get what you deserve for your inconsideration. this goes to all those phukers who keep passing me on the right with one carlength to spare, as the try to dodge around traffic, get maybe one car ahead, and tail the crap out of everyone, endangering their own worthless lives on top of mine. i cant believe traffic can go from 70 to 0 on a designated highway for now reason, in broad daylight, with no apparant cause. i blame the schools, the government, and most of all the people reposnsible for inbred stupidity rampant in this world. /rant
 
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Sweeps

Veteran Member
Joined
Jul 24, 2005
Location
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
TDI
None currently. MK4/5/6 Jetta's in the past.
I was in my BMW 3 series on an across North America road trip. In the St. Louis area doing 75 mph in the fast lane, all of a sudden the Dodge Ram in front of me SLAMMED on its brakes. I was not tailgating by any means, not even close, ( Turned out a police officer had set up a road block in the fast lane of the freeway with no notice as there was an accident ahead, so motorists were a bit surprised and we stopping quickly ) anyway, I was going to be able to stop with no problem at all, but for some reason, looked in my rearview mirrow and saw that the Ford Probe that was following me, had not see me slow down, and was looking over at his gf/wife and was still travelling at 75-80 mph. I am still to this day not sure how I saw all of this in my mirror so clearly and so quickly. All lanes were jammed, so I could not go right, I made the decision to go left into the grassy median at 50 mph ( which is what I had slowed down to in that split second ) as I fought to keep the car pointed where I wanted it to, and not end up on the other side of the freeway, the Ford Probe hit the back of the Dodge Ram without even applying the brakes. Now the freeway was completely clogged with the second accident, and I am in the median, have come to a complete stop, and am thinking what I just did probably saved my life, or at least serious injury. The Ford Probe was absolutely destroyed, as was the back of the Ram, even though the Probe's nose went under the back on the truck. If I was in between the Probe and the Ram, I can only imagine the state of my car and I.
I was in the Median for hours, because the highway was closed for a while, and the traffic was backed up for miles. So I had plenty of time to think about how lucky I was, and how the hell I decided in the split second to drive into the median.
It was definitely a Woah That Scared Me moment!

Oh ya, and surprisingly enough, the car was completely fine, only a bit of grass in the wheel wells!
 

TornadoRed

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Aug 3, 2003
Location
Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
TDI
2003 Golf GL 5-spd, red; 2003 Golf GLS 5-spd, indigo blue; 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, Candy White (SOLD); 2003 Jetta TDI wagon, silver
SoaceMunky said:
in front of me, probably less than fifty yards, i see a line of cars, the last five piled up on eachother.
Last week, cruising south on I-15 in late afternoon, past Poway and going up the hill toward Mira Mesa...

I had been in the fast lane for 15-20 miles, doing about 75, all the traffic moving smoothly.

But I know that, approaching Miramar, the left lanes will slow -- they always do. It's still 3 or 4 miles til the highway divides into I-15 and SR 163, but lots of folks like to get into the left lanes before everyone else does.

Anyway, I could see, up ahead, several cars merging into my (#1) lane, so I merge over into the #2 lane, which was now miraculously clear. By the time I slow down to about 40, the #1 lane is moving at 5-10 mph.

My driver's-side window is down, so I could hear very clearly the sounds of tires skidding, followed 0.2 seconds later by the distinctive sound of a collision.

I continued to shift lanes to the right, as the #6 and #7 lanes were moving smoothly. And reflected on how I could have been stuck in the #1 lane behind that fender-bender.

Soace Monkey, I'm usually in the fast lane, so the left-side break-down lane is usually my emergency escape route. I've used it a few times for that purpose.
 
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