It was a dark and stormy night. Oh wait, wrong open call. Ok, it was a day of sunshine between cloudbursts. I was in my Toyota Scion XA, which is about the same size as a VW. I was stopped at a red light at the bottom of a long winding downhill road. In the right lane.
A car ahead.
A car to my left.
I idly glanced in my side view mirror, something I never do. When checking out traffic around me, while stopped, I always look in my inside rearview mirror.
This day was different.
I noticed a trash truck making it's way down the hill in the left lane. I could see that the truck was slowing but I said to myself, with a small laugh, I sure hope he stops.
I then gazed straight ahead.
A second later I heard the truck honking its horn. Without a thought, purely on instinct, I immediately pulled my car over to the left as far as I could.
Another second and the trash truck rumbled past me on the right, missing my car by inches. The driver had lost his brakes. He went over the curb, maneuvering the truck between a line of trees and the stoplights, a distance of no more than 50 feet. He went through the red light and, luckily, no cars were in the way. He finally came to a halt on the other side where the road leveled out.
The light changed and traffic moved. I don't think any one else knew what had gone down. I passed the truck and looked up at the driver, wanting to give him a thank you wave, but I saw that he had his head down, and I'm sure he was saying "Gracias a Madre de Dios". It didn't hit me until later that day that I'd nearly gotten creamed.
A year later I traded the Scion in for a Corolla because the Scion had proved to be too small. The new Corolla was the same price as the Scion, got the same mileage, and I wondered why I had opted for such a small car as the Scion to begin with. Then I remembered that day. The Corolla is larger than the Scion. Enough so that it might have made a real difference that day.