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  • Writer's pictureJohn

Driving Stories - tales from the road

Everyone has a classic driving story that they tell over and over. Perhaps it was a narrow miss dodging an accident. Or avoiding a speeding ticket. Or witnessing some crazy driver (or even being the crazy driver). Perhaps just a long road trip. Here's my story.

In the late 1980's I was driving back to college following a semester break. At the time I had a 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco with its paltry 80 HP (but big heart). It wasn't fast in acceleration but once it reached cruising speed it was fun. I was really moving along on the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike watching the forest and farms flash by.

Ahead of me in the left lane was a large old Chrysler in that 1970's brown. Yeah, you know the one. The car stayed in the left lane at about 50 mph and wouldn't move (my big pet peeve to this day). Even with some headlamp flashes the big brown Chrysler stayed planted in the passing lane.

I checked the rearview mirror for heavy trucks and scanned the road ahead. All clear. I signaled, swung into the right lane, and accelerated. 80 horses grunted and pushed the speedometer into the 60's. The Chrysler accelerated.

I kept my foot on the floor as my car reached 70 mph. The brown barge kept accelerating. As I crossed the 80 mph line my tachometer still had space to the red line. And yet the Chrysler kept just ahead of me.

Who was this? Some young guy challenging me in his dad's hand-me-down car? A person who had a bad day at work? I wanted to know.

I kept the accelerator pedal planted and started edging forward but the car's rear pillars still blocked the view of the driver. Inch by inch I passed the brown racer. And suddenly, there she was.

The driver must've been 75 years old (or so she seemed to a 20 year old). Why was she racing along the highway in a mad quest to beat me? What was her hurry?

Suddenly, her head swung right and she looked directly at me. Then she turned and gazed down. Her jaw dropped. She must've noticed we were now traveling at over 90 miles an hour! And just like that, she vanished.

I could see the tire smoke in my rearview mirror as the Chrysler's driver applied non-ABS brakes. The car grew smaller by the second as I took my foot from the pedal, eased down the speed, and continued on my way to college. I never did learn about her hurry.

If you read this far, send us your story to . We'd love to read your stories and then we'll publish them here with first name, last initial and city, state (if specified).

P.S. Bernie has not driven in such a long time and holds no memories of driving stories. She couldn't contribute to this piece.

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