Don't read these if you're planning on driving a deserted road at night anytime soon.
Reader jariten1781 had an old Ford F100 follow him for 3000 miles. Coincidence?
"The creepiest I had was back in 2008 moving from Seattle to DC.
Route was down to Portland, then I84 to I80 to I76 to I70 to I270. Immediately heading out of Portland I passed an old F100 going very slow in primer black with no license plates. Cool truck I thought and didn't really pay it any mind. I noticed about an hour later that the same truck was a couple car lengths behind me...odd. After getting back to some open roads he disappeared into the distance behind me.
First night I stopped somewhere in Idaho. Shitty cheap local motel and I'm the only one there. Wake up the next morning and parked one spot away from me is that primered F100.
Take off, continuing my trek southeast. Every single time I stop for gas, at a rest stop, or get slowed down for traffic the old Ford shows up in my rear-view mirror again. It's bizarre.
Nearing the end of Nebraska I pull over and get gas and decide to drive one more tank then stop for the day. Pull back onto the highway and Mr. Truck is right there shadowing me again. About 30 minutes later I realize I'm too tired to get to the end of the tank and decide to stop in the next town just over the border in Iowa. As I'm getting off I see the pickup pass on carrying down the highway. Guess he has more endurance than I do.
Wake up the next morning...you know what's coming...the damned truck is in the hotel parking lot again. Up to this point I just figured I was driving hare to his tortoise and we just happened to be making the same West-East trip. Now I had that weird light feeling in my stomach...like something was just off. I ask the clerk when turning in my keys what's up with the truck?...when had it come in?... She says she wasn't working last night and wasn't sure (and also probably thought I was crazy...which maybe I was).
Anyhow, at that point I figure it must be a coincidence and this has to be a different truck. I mean there were a lot of F100s made and there's bound to be a couple in the country that are primer black running with no plates. As I go to head out I see the truck turning out of the parking lot in the direction that leads him away from the highway. Couldn't have been the same one from before...the guy didn't turn in his keys so he was probably staying locally.
Get back on the highway. No truck. Run to the end of the tank stop and get gas and some snacks. Get back on...and I merge in two cars in front of a primer black F100. What...the...hell.
At that point I decide...screw it, I'm marathoning the rest of the way. It's less than 20 hours so it shouldn't be so bad and I don't want to stay at another shitty motel with strange ghost truck stalking me.
The pattern continues with the truck showing up behind me every single time I take a break or get gas or get slowed in traffic. It's dark when I get to the I70/270 split and the old headlights are glowing back on the horizon. I know it's him. I wonder if it's going to follow me down 270 and be parked down the street near my house the next morning when I wake up. Alas, the truck continues on 70 and I never see it again.
Looking back it was probably a confluence or coincidence... it still feels really odd to me though because it's not like there were a lot of F100s doing interstate runs in 2008. I also realized that I never got a good look at the driver. Not that there was no driver, but in my memories all I see is an indistinct human shaped thing driving an old truck that stalked me for 3000 miles."
I was lucky enough to be inside during Hurricane Sandy, even if I was without power. Reader Dukie - Jalopnik Emergency Management Asshole had to brave the storm:
"I got deployed to NJ just before that bitch Sandy showed up. For some reason, the powers that be decided it would be smart for us to have hotels in Neptune (See Atlantic Coast), but work in the state Emergency Operations Center in Trenton (See Pennsylvania side of NJ).
The day before landfall, a co-worker (Mike) and I drove separately to Trenton, mainly because he had a van full of Comm gear and no spare seats. Just before I left to go back to the hotel, I decided to grab a couple MRE's from his van for when the power went out. As I was coming back into the building to give him the keys, Gov. Chris Christie was walking through the atrium of the building to give a press conference. I wasn't about to barge through his entourage to give the keys back to Mike, so I asked one of the other guys who was standing outside smoking to make sure Mike got the keys to the van as soon as he was done smoking. This was at about 6pm the evening before landfall, and Sandy's outer bands were just starting to show up.
At 9:30pm that night, I got a call from Mike asking, "Hey, where'd you put those van keys?" Mike ended up working late that night (he was dealing with a lot of logistical stuff) and apparently the guy I gave the keys to, didn't get them to Mike. By now, Sandy's winds were really kicking but I told Mike I'd be there as soon as I could. When I had driven to Neptune earlier that night, I made an observation about I-195. Tons of tall trees on the sides of the roadsand open median in the middle. It's a good thing I noticed and remembered that.
Now I've driven in a couple of hurricanes, and it's not THAT big of a deal. Unless it's pitch black out. Getting down to I-195 via the GSP wasn't bad, some branches on the road, maybe a tree limb here and there. I'm not that stupid, so I'm only doing about 40 mph in the left lane once I'm on I-195 and then it happened.
I literally yelled, "WHATTHEFUCKOHMYGODHOLYSHITFUCKINGHELL!!" In the pitch black of that night, with the wind howling and the rain coming down, the top of a tree appeared in front of me. Luckily it was only about 1-2 feet into my lane (the other 30+ feet of it was completely blocking the right lane) and I wasn't driving like an idiot. Lather rinse repeat about another dozen times on the way to Trenton. And at least another dozen (including one on a blind corner) on the way back to Neptune. The roundtrip took roughly 4 hours that night, Google is telling me it's 48 minutes one way right now. I changed my shorts when I got back to my powerless hotel, and slept for about an hour when I was awoken by a phone call saying we needed to get to work ASAP because the President had declared the disaster. Thankfully, we only had to report to our alternate location near Neptune after that call and not Trenton."
Suggested By: Dukie - Jalopnik Emergency Management Asshole, Photo Credit: Getty Images
That's what foxbody said, as his truck rolled before he knew what was going on.
"Going to get a damn Christmas tree with my then-GF, driving my then-beautiful '85 Yota. It's been snowing, but the roads are pretty clear. I'm cruising at maybe 50 around a gentle bend, which leads to a bridge. There's a little bump where the concrete transitions to the bridge, this happens to mark where a large patch of black ice starts. Soon as the rear tires hit the bump, the rear end pops out 90 degrees, and the car slides sideways directly through the oncoming lane of traffic, at the guard rail. I have enough time to say 'holy shit this isn't happening' before I hit the guardrail head-on, which flips the truck and it begins rolling. Rolled maybe 4 or 5 times down the whole length of the bridge, ending up on the shoulder of the opposite site of the road, 2 feet from sliding down a cliff towards a little river.
Roll cage saved my life, I'm pretty sure."
Suggested By: foxbody, Photo Credit: Getty Images
A couch is one of the last things you'd expect to see in the middle of a road, and Takuro Spirit - Trans Camry didnt' see it until after he'd hit it.
"The time I was most scared behind the wheel was when I hit a dark object on a dark road at high speed... not knowing what I was about to hit.
It was a late night. Midnight. Dark three lane highway. Sparse traffic.
I had been at a female friend's house as was my usual weekend routine, about 90 miles from home. I had taken my oft-reliable but oil consuming (see my past stories for the time on the same highway that I wore a lobe off the camshaft) 1977 Firebird Esprit on the trip as I always had.
Driving southbound on highway 41 outside of Appleton, near the Neenah Menasha exit (yes, the same exit the band Sponge titled a song after), I was following an S-Blazer in the center lane when suddenly, BRAKE LIGHTS. The S-Blazer swerved hard left, as a car that had been in front of the Blazer went hard right, and spun off the road down an embankment. This I did not much see. Why? Because in the center lane, dead ahead of me, was a large black rectangle. Focusing on that, my vision narrowed.
My mind had few precious seconds to compile all the info around me, and to guess at what I was about to run into, and how not to, and there were few options. With a car outbraking me to my left (the Blazer) and a car spinning off the road to the right (whatever it was), I had to go straight. And brake. And close my eyes. Was is a flipped over car? A garbage dumpster? What else would be on the highway in the middle of the WHAM!!!!!
I made contact. It was loud. But...not as loud as I would have thought. I opened my eyes, I was still slowing. I remember looking down at my speedo and seeing 50-ish. I had been doing about 70-ish. I let off the brake, as I seemed to be out of harms way, except for the awful screechy metally scraping noise. I shifted to neutral, shut off the engine, thinking something may have punctured the radiator, or the fan was now hitting it causing the noise, turned on the flashers (good ol fashion pull knob!), and made my way to the right shoulder.
The Blazer pulls up behind me.
A lady gets out.
"Are you okay?!?!" she yells from her car as I exit my Firebird, and look around to assess the situation.
There is light traffic, now slowing, driving through a debris field strewn across the highway. There is the Blazer behind me, and farther back a tow truck already on the side of the road. Odd.
"I'm okay...." I answer
"You hit that thing head on! It blew apart, it was crazy!"
"Hit what?" I ask, still in shock and trying to register still what is going on exactly.
"The couch. You hit that couch." She points to the freeway.
I focus on the debris, and see cushions. Wood. Fabric. Debris.
I decimated that shit. YESSS.
I make my way around the front of the car, and see my headlights are no longer pointed straight, my hood is buckled, my composite material nose askew. And I see fluid dripping. Fuck. I kneel down, and at this time the tow truck driver approaches. I see metal, under my car.... it's the springs and frame from the couch. They are tangled in my transmission cooler lines, which have now been forcefully pulled out of my radiator. Fuuuuuuuu
"Did you not see it?!?!"
The tow truck driver, who first noticed the couch getting dropped off someone's trailer stopped and had just begun to shine his spotlight on it to warn traffic as we approached, and took it out.
"No... there was a car in front...." I mumble. Still trying to understand all this... I mean, this is my first "accident" and all.
"Where's the other car?" he asks. We look down the embankment. There's a church. With a car parked on the access road. There's a guy. Trudging through the weeds to climb up to us.
He actually hit the couch, and knocked it to where it was before I hit it, before he spun off the road. So he says. His car is fine.
The Blazer is fine.
My car is not.
State Patrol arrives, and assesses the situation, gets all our info, and starts to write out a report. Everyone is getting ready to leave and I cannot. I can't get the couch parts untangled from my car. I ask the tow truck driver.... not for a tow, but just to lift it up high enough so I can get under it, and pull the shit out. I have tools....
He obliges. I tip him and say thanks. Most of the debris has been cleared by State Patrol and passing cars. I walk back to my car and see something waving in the wind. It's a small piece of batting, stuck to my radio antenna. I take it off. I put it in the glove box.
I drive to the next exit, flipping on my highbeams to see just how badly my lights are now misaligned. I brighten up the retaining wall, the street, the sky.
I stop at the gas station off the exit and purchase a bottle of ATF, and check my trans level. It's dripping, but its not pouring out, even when running. Thankfully there were SOME threads left and the lines are not completely pulled out anymore.
I limp home, stopping every once and awhile to check the ATF level. It's good every time. Yay.
I get home, park in my parent's driveway, and go to bed."
Sometimes it's better to just hold it in rather than risk the unknown like Moves-Like-Senna did:
"I was visiting my girlfriend several hours northwest of Montreal and the weekend was over so I set out driving South on Autoroute 117 from Val D'or in Quebec at about 2AM on a Monday morning.
Anyone who has driven the road knows just how bare it is and how isolated you are. It's not abnormal to speed excessively as there are very few police officers, no cell reception, no gas stations for a 190 mile stretch and emergency SOS phones every dozen miles or so.
As mentioned it was 2 AM and I was blasting down the highway pushing my rental 2014 Hyundai Sonata to its limits. I'd downed 2 Monsters and half a gallon of water nearly 2 hours earlier and well, to ensure I stayed awake I held off from a bathroom break until I finally needed one.
Keeping my eye out for any roads or trails, I kept spotting flashes of lights in the woods. It was a clear night with a full moon so I just kept telling myself they were probably just highway markers set too close together and that if I pull over there'd be no worries.
After a good 20 minutes of stammering around trying to not soil the seat of the Sonata I was confined to for 6 more hours, I SLAMMED on the brakes! A single dirt road, barely wide enough for an Aveo but I decided to give it a shot. I was desperate!
Rather than just stopping on the bare highway and doing my business, I pulled in and started to go through the trail thanking myself for choosing the full coverage, non-fault insurance as the bushes scrapped and thwarted the sides of the car and the bottom occasionally getting caught on a rock.
After a few minutes, some fog started to set in and the trail had gotten wider but muddier I hit the gas and got through a half foot deep mud pit and found a spot where I could stop and then turn around. I got out holding my self between the legs leaving the car door open and fighting off the bugs to go pee across the trail.
OH MY GOD! YES JUST FUCK YES, it was the best feeling in the world. I was overcome with glee and relief but then... I hear a thud... mid-stream my car door had closed. It couldn't have just been nothing as I climbed up the bank to park so the door was held open by gravity but I shrugged my shoulders and told myself it was the wind even though there was none.
I reached in my pocked to double check I had the keyfob which I did and my cellphone as well and for some reason I started to feel a tingling on the back of my neck.... and I looked up.
More road markers... but on the trail...in the fog... in the woods....they were eyes.. first one pair then three.. I zipped up and ran to the car but the car was locked? I left it unlocked and the door open. WHAT WAS HAPPENING!??!?!?!
I turn around and there's three wolves staring at me with my dress shirt sticking out of my fly. TWO terrifying things 1) the wolves in front of me 2) I just tore my Hugo Boss dress shirt. I clicked the keyfob button in my pocket, unlocked the door and calmly stepped in...
HOLY SHIT... FINALLY some sheet metal between me and the wolves. I was sweaty, I'd dribbled on my work pants and tore my shirt... great. At least I was safe. I went to start the car and it wouldn't start. Nothing, no turn over or anything. This was a brand new 2014 Sonata and I was the first renter.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone after a few tries with nothing and as I mentioned there's no reception, no police, almost no traffic and I'm in the middle of a friggen ATV trail and my car wouldn't start. What next?
BATS! That's what. FUCKING BATS! There were fucking bats in the car. Now I'm sitting in the car with my phone screen on unable to call 911 and several bats flying around me and three wolves still outside my car staring at me make a fool of myself. Panicking I decided to start swatting the bats. Have you ever swatted bats? This was a first for me but man is it disgusting.
It's furry and greasy at the same time and you feel their skin on yours too. Throw in the fact they're trying to bite and scratch you and they can practically see in the dark.
After a well fought battle, I got enough of them on the ground that I could try and start the car again. I inched my door open a crack, re-closed it to reset the lights and tried the key again. IT WORKED! YES HOME FREE!!! I shoved it into drive turned the wheel left, honked at the wolves and mashed it to get the car turned around.
I started heading back down the trail but suddenly there's HALF A DOZEN WOLVES chasing me from behind and I opened the windows to get the bats out. I reached the highway with everything clamouring around, the car banging anything it could and bats flying out the window.
Too preoccupied with the pack of wolves chasing me, and bats still flying around I didn't notice the semi truck headed north and flew right on to the highway crossing his path and I'd just missed getting hit by a mere few inches. I almost soiled the seat... again.
I continued to drive south fighting off the bats at 30mph to get away from the wolves and finally they were gone. I closed up the windows sped up to a speed that isn't exactly legal trying to catch my breath to make sense out of what just happened.
For 5 hours I drove in silence until I arrived at a parking lot near work in downtown Montreal. Bloodied with bat shit on me, smelling like urine, a torn shirt still sticking through my fly, muddied dress shoes, exhausted and panicked I walked into the office to start my Monday morning."
The stars aligned in the worst way possible for reader High Road. His truck "caught fire and started a 1500 acre wildfire." The truck backfired going into low gear which and ignited because of a leak in the gas tank.
Be sure you know which way you're going, otherwise you could end up in great danger like bobrayner did:
"Driving through a minefield whilst arguing with the codriver about which route had been cleared of mines, there was definitely one mine-free route, um, I remember seeing somebody post a GPS trail on the internet, err, wasn't it over there? All this sand and scrub looks the same..."
This story from PNW20v is why companies like Volvo are devloping airbags that work outside of the car:
"Back on Labor day weekend I had a homeless man very literally run out into traffic in front of me. I was going through a stop light intersection in a marked 35 zone. He ran out from in front of a car that was turning left from the same direction of traffic as me.
I hit him with my drivers quarter panel at a full skid at about a 45 degree angle.
Have you ever had a person come through your windshield, so hard their head comes within inches of your face? Terrifying. Getting out and seeing a man with 2 compound fractured legs and bleeding from multiple orifices on his head? Scariest experience of my life, involving a car or not. Only silver lining of it all, I was 100% cleared by security footage on a near by business. Didn't even get a ticket."
Those are six words you never want to hear shouted at you while you're driving. Reader phimuskapsi did, and lives to tell the tale.
"One night, I'm out getting gas, and after I leave I pull up to a red light behind a beater car and we are both turning right onto a two-lane highway. We both make the right, his car doesn't go very fast so I head for the left lane. He blocks me. I head for the right lane. He immediately kills his signal and cuts me off again. This continues for a little while before I get annoyed, gun it and go to pass him. Again, while in the process of passing, this guy takes a dive at my car which slows me down. He's yelling at me out his window, "YOU AREN'T PASSING ME MOTHERFUCKER!!!!" and laughing manically. We get caught at another light and he starts chucking stuff at my car, I check the traffic and gun it through the red, I'm sufficiently creeped out now. His car seems to be faster than I initially thought and he is keeping up with me through traffic. In desperation I start turning off side-streets, and he is following me. We get to another light and I ask what his problem is and he screams, literally, screams "YOU ARE GOING TO DIE TONIGHT." Holy fuck.
So I chuck an old coffee into his car, turn off my lights and take the fuck off as fast as I can go. At this point stop lights aren't a concern anymore, I WANT to be pulled over. I'm ripping through little towns at 100MPH (in 25 and 30 zones) and starting to lose him, finally duck into another side street, somehow find a driveway that goes next to a garage, pull up next to the garage, lights off (car on), and wait...1 minute....3 minutes. 10 minutes.
I finally get home about 45 minutes later, white as a ghost, call the police (didn't have my cell at the time) and report him in. I never found out what happened, I never saw him again. Literally thought I was going to be murdered...for nothing."
If you've ever been tempted to drive tired, OneFastPuertoRican's story will scare you straight:
"Spring Break 1997, I was heading out to Houston from Lubbock and looking forward to a nice week of doing nothing. With a few stops, the drive should take about 8.5-9 hours. The plan was to stop in Austin for the night at a good friend's house and head out to Houston (2.5 hrs) in the morning. For the record, I'm driving an '85 Sentra hatchback (no AC, no cruise control, thanks Dad!)
Due to work commitments, I couldn't leave Lubbock until about 6pm. I stopped at a friend's house for a quick bite before hitting the road. It's now 7pm.
The drive itself was very uneventful until I get to Austin. About 12:30 am I reach Austin and find a bank of pay phones (before the era of everyone has a cellphone). I called him to say 'I'm not tired. Really. Gonna make the short drive to Houston.'
He says 'Are you sure? It's pretty late man.'
Me: 'Yeah, I'm good. Call you in the morning when I'm in H-town'
I hang up and fill up the tank before heading out again. It's now 1 am.
At 2:30 am I reach Brenham and can barely keep my eyes open. I'm doing every trick in the book: loud music, window open, slapping face, punching myself. Nothing's working.
Just past Brenham on 290 is a combination levee/bridge highway designed to keep the freeway high and dry during big floods. Pictured above but in dead of night with no lights whatsoever.
The last thing I remember was closing my eyes and opening them suddenly to see my car plunging down the levee with me inside. I must have been doing 60-70 MPH when I went downhill. Luckily the high grass kept me from either overturning/nailing the bottom of the levee.
So I've stopped about 15 feet from the bottom of the levee. It's the middle of the night and no one can see my car down the embankment. No cell phone. No witnesses. Car won't start. Fuck…..
After a quick check on myself, I get out of the car and stumble out the driver-side door. I start climbing up the levee to flag down someone to help. Yeah right. People are just gonna stop when they see some 'mexican-looking fellow' waving his arms in the middle of nowhere at 2:45 am.
Finally, an 18-wheeler stops and I borrow his cell phone. I call my Dad (who's unsure of what to do, thanks Pop) then call a wrecker to pull my car out. The trucker offers to wait until the wrecker arrives but I get really creeped out just sitting there so I say, Yeah, I'm good. I'll wait by the side of the road."
The trucker leaves and I'm all alone again. After a few minutes, I realize that I'll probably be waiting for an hour for the wrecker so I decide to get back in my car and see if I can't throw it in reverse.
Not sure if I had an angel on my shoulder, but the car fired right up! As I threw it into reverse, it truly felt like a Christmas miracle. All the way up the embankment I drove backwards and made it to the top by the side of the freeway. Got out and checked around. Wheels? OK. Body Damage? Nothing too noticeable. Engine? Looks like the underneath of a lawnmower, but it all looks OK. Belts are still belting! Let's go!!!
Put it in first gear and I hear a wobble from the wheels. Not sure what it is but nothing is gonna stop me from making it to Houston, damnit! My top speed after the accident was about 40MPH.
I reach my parent's house about 5:00 am. Tired, sore and still a bit in shock, I told my parents what happened before I collapsed in my bed.
After I woke up sometime around noon, I went to survey the damage: I had completely stripped two of the four lugs off the right wheel and one lug off the left wheel. I'm damned lucky that one or both wheels didn't fly off the car after my 'accident'.
I also realized that if I had gone off 15 seconds later, my car would probably have been upside-down in the creek.
So, yes. NEVER pass up a chance to sleep during a long road trip."
Welcome back to Answers of the Day - our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Top Photo Credit: Duel