Driving home for lunch yesterday, I had my first real-life experience with a freeway wrong-way driver. Unfortunately, I first saw him a few hundred yards straight in front of me, when the pickup that had been in the left-hand lane ahead of me suddenly swerved into the right-hand lane. The potential killer was barreling toward me at a relative speed of about 150 mph, and I had maybe a few seconds to react.

Also unfortunately, he and I were both in the left-hand lane, and I was next to a tractor-trailer in the right-hand lane. I braked hard, but even while I did so I realized I couldn’t slow down fast enough to get behind the semi.

Yet I still went right. Years ago I read that panicked drivers will swerve right, so you should never try to get around an oncoming car to your left. I’ve thought about that many times since, so maybe that’s why my instinctual reaction was what it was.

But if the trucker next to me hadn’t also moved right – as far right as he could go without crashing – I would not be writing this. Because he went right as I went right. And when I believed I couldn’t go right any more without hitting him, I did it anyway because otherwise I was going to hit the oncoming car, which continued on dead straight.

I couldn’t have missed him by more than an inch, nor could I have missed the left side of the semi by any more than that either. It was so close that when I got home, I inspected my pickup for damage. There was none.

So: thank you, thank you, thank you to that unknown trucker. If it weren’t for the room you made for me I would now be dead.

I’d like to say there are all sorts of lessons for life or business or whatever from my experience, but there aren’t. As I said, I’ve thought many times about this type of scenario, and what I decided I’d do when I had time to think about it is exactly what I did when I had no time. And in this particular case, it worked. But if the oncoming car had swerved to his left, I would now be dead. (And I’m not even sure where I read what I did about panicked drivers, so it could have been completely bogus information.)

There are so many variables, you simply can’t prepare for every eventuality. Perhaps my many times contemplating such a scenario explains why I didn’t panic, and in fact felt no fear. But on the other hand, there simply wasn’t time. I saw the car, I reacted, and I watched it tear past me. Then I drove the rest of the way home, a little wobbly, in sheer wonder that I was still alive.

And I kissed my wife and my two sons, who just happened to be home from school because a fall heat wave gave them an unscheduled half-day.

What is God trying to tell me?