Reminds me of a story my mom told me of her youngest brother, my uncle who was driving his
farm truck through the Colorado mountains somewhere when a flat-lander flagged him down and
said (this was back in the 1940s or 50s), "Mister, I'll give you 200 bucks to drive me and my family
out of these damned mountains so I can go home."
You haven't lived until you take the west side of Wolf Creek Pass in SW Colorado on US 160. It's
10 miles of 7% grade with very tight turns and an 18 mph speed limit for buses and trucks. I drove
it a few years ago and I ran down and pulled the guy in front of me over and told him to shift his
car into a lower gear (he had a standard trasmission). He was trying to take the entire hill, using
only his brakes! I could smell the brakes a quarter mile behind him. He was upset until his wife
agreed that she could smell them too. He put 5 years wear on those brakes in a half-dozen miles...
The trick is to learn to "sense the horizon". If you pay attention to what the vehicle is doing
on mild grades, the work up to steeper grades, you'll be able to figure it out.
I was in AZ when I was 16 years old with my dad, and I was driving a Ford F-250 3/4-ton pickup
with 2 tons of potatoes on board westbound near Globe, down-hill into a tunnel. They guy in
front of me in a car must have had one foot on the throttle and the other on the brake. His
lights were on the whole way down the hill, and I had no problem coming down that same hill
on compression with an occasional press on the brakes.
I learned to drive on ice by skidding, spinning, fish-tailing, and anything else fun I could think up
as a kid in the alfalfa fields at age 14-15 or so. In 1992, coming across Kansas on I-70 the day
before Thanksgiving, I had close to 500 miles of ICE (not snowpack). Three people *tried* to
pass me (1978 Cadillac) but couldn't pull it off. There were jack knifed semis, U-Haul trailers
upside-down in the median and all sorts of problems.
The only way to develop driving skills is practice, practice, practice. If you can find safe areas with
little or no traffic, or open spaces with nobody around, try some stuff you'd encounter on the road.
Put the vehicle "out of control", then bring it back into control. Try little things, then a bit braver
things until you become familiar with how the machine behaves. It's time well spent. Nothing's
worse than a driver behind the wheel in a vehicle he or she doesn't know how to handle in an
emergency. I came close to being killed by a 40-yr-old famale driver doing 80-90 in a 280-ZX in
1991 who lacked the skills to make a simple maneuver to prevent a collision, (speed limit 55) but
instead she apparently closed her eyes and hit the brakes. She was speeding and was out of sight
on the other side of an overpass when I pulled out to the right, safely I thought, into the eastbound
lanes of a 4-lane divided highway, then made a turn from the outside lane into the median
cross-over. She mis-judged, thought to make a change to the inside lane to pass me when
I made my turn. Instead of pulling back to the outside lane and continuing onward, she hit
me and destroyed two cars. I got minor injuries. She spent a week in the hospital with
reconstructive facial surgery. I was in a 1978 Cadillac. In a collision, the big guy wins, but had
I been 1/3 second later, I'd be dead today. As it was, she T-boned the left rear axle and spun
the caddy 300 degrees and into the ditch. My rib cage mashed against the driver door so hard
it bent the metal at the bottom of the window nearly 2 inches in the middle from normal.
Her name on her drivers license appeared to be SE Asian, probably Vietnamese. Fast car,
slow skils = death or severe injury...
My head went through the side window. Obviously it broke the glass. I had on industrial
safety glasses with stainless-steel frames. An EMT showed up seemingly seconds after the
car stopped moving. Asked a bunch of questions to see if I was mentally OK. Then he saw
my glasses on the ground and picked them up. I put them back on. They fit as normal. There
were two big gouges in the plastic lens over my left eye from the glass breaking. That could
have been my eye. Another time, I was trimming the edge on a hardwood board when my
table saw threw a splinter at me. It hit my right ear and lodged. When I pulled it out, I got
blood. 2 inches to the left and it would have hit me in my right eye and probably left me blind.
I'm a fanatic about safety glasses.
Life's what happens. Prepare in advance. Do what's right and your Creator can choose to
protect you. If you're not prepared, don't be surprised if He leaves you "on your own". I've
had a lot of close calls in life. My escape from serious injury or death on numerous occasions,
I'm convinced, was not "accidental".
There are no atheists in fox holes, I'm told...