Friday, March 28, 2014

Reaction Time.

So, Wednesday I had a very unique experience. On the highway heading back from the outdoor range, it was rather windy. I watched the 18-wheeler just ahead of me struggle with the wind, and decided that it might be a good idea to put some distance between us. I gave the Earthf**ker a bit of gas (ahem), and started around the rig, when all of a sudden all holy hell broke loose.

In the sudden rush of acceleration, my dashboard-mounted GPS unit came loose and fell off the dash. I didn't think anything of it, because all of a sudden the truck just out and out died. No power whatsoever. Fortunately I was going straight on the highway at sufficient speed that controlling the truck wasn't too hard, but I had a swaying rig next to me and I was losing power.

Folks, that's never a good place to be.

I'm trying to decide whether I should signal the rig or just wait for him to catch up, when out of the blue the brain put two and two together. Falling GPS + path it took off the dashboard = look at the ignition to find that the GPS had impacted the key and shut the truck off. Reach down, twist the key back into the "on" position, and twist it enough to kick the motor back to life and everything was right in the world.

Didn't even stack traffic up behind me all that much (of course, there wasn't much traffic to begin with).

It's amazing how you react to different situations, it really is. At a previous trip to the range, I managed to pick up a nail in the rear driver's side tire, and I had a hell of a time deciding to s**t or get off the pot - whether to get it plugged or see if it sealed itself (since I could *hear* air leaking out, I found a garage real quick. Yes, I know, I need to get a tire repair kit for the truck, it's on the list). Something that, at worst, would have resulted in needed to toss the spare on had me absolutely flummoxed; yet Wednesday I was on the highway next to a shaking 18-wheeler with no power and the decision process was smooth, fluid, and decisive.

As terrifying as it was at the time, I'm glad it happened. It's good to know how you'll react in a tough situation, and having an impromptu training situation present itself with no warning (like problems crop up in real life) gave me a glimpse into how I perform under pressure. And, I'm happy to report, I didn't f**k everything up and die.

And sometimes, that's all you can ask for...

That is all.

12 comments:

Robert said...

And the liberal response would be to sue Dodge and the GPS maker....

Ted said...

Had you been trained as a Lawyer, you would have immediately realized you could have been the lead plaintive in the next big class action automotive product liability suit worth gazillions......... But no you choose the resolve the problem on your own

Dave H said...

When used properly, adrenaline is a wonderful thing.

I'm glad you're still 3-dimensional.

Peter said...

Well, of course you knew what was wrong. You were all keyed up!

;-)

Wally said...

waitwaitwait - You neither died nor sued generalmotors, and simply turned the ignition back on?
UNFATHOMABLE!

:-)

lelnet said...

Good for you.

Of course, I'm also trying to remember the last time I drove a car without an engine/transmission interlock to prevent the key from ever being in the "off" position while the vehicle was in gear. I certainly didn't know you could still buy vehicles lacking this feature from mainstream manufacturers.

KJ said...

Good job Jay. I've had a couple of those worth telling too. I don't know how many people freeze up in a nasty situation but it's a good feeling when you know you don't. Too bad the only way to know for sure is to have potential death attack you one day.

ZerCool said...

lelnet, I have never seen a car that *wouldn't* allow you to shut it off at any point. OFF is critical. The usual interlock prevents starting while in gear, and is quite standard.

Scott_S said...

Might relocate that GPS.

Will said...

lelnet:

What you are thinking of is the steering wheel lock setup part of the ignition lock.

That keeps you from locking the steering if you have to turn off the engine for some reason. Which could/did happen with the first models. Oh joy...

ejecto said...

Bought a fast used 5.0 Mustang 20-some years ago. Broke it in on a trip to Myrtle Beach SC. On the way back, I got into a little race with a Formula 350 Firebird, and pulled away from him. Time to slow down, and the car just kept accelerating!Overpowered the brakes! On a divided 4 lane with a red light coming up! As we exceeded 100 MPH, I popped the clutch and killed the ignition. The problem? The aftermarket floor mat jammed the gas pedal. Didn't have to clean my pants, but it was close.

maxwell said...

Yeah, I have handled some awfully high-stress situations in a manner that leads me, even years later, to wonder how I ever had the presence of mind and clarity of vision to pull through alive...much more unscathed.
This from a guy who can't decide what to do for dinner.