I sat shaking on the side of the road late Easter Sunday waiting for police. I had just experienced one of the scariest drives of my life.
When I left work at about 11:30 p.m., I had to deal with an obstacle course of construction detours to go from Doral, where I work, to the Aventura area, where I live.
Except this was even a little different for me. Every exit on the Palmetto Expressway was shut down. The way to exit was State Road 441.
When I got onto 441, I saw flashing yellow lights at the intersection (not unusual for this time of night). I saw a police officer waiting to turn, so I figured I’d stop at the light.
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I didn’t think it was a big deal, but the person behind me did.
It didn’t take me long to realize that the impatient driver was playing chicken with me.
First, he was next to me. I’d go faster, and then he would. I slowed, then he slowed. Then he got behind me and tailed me for a while.
I had been followed before, but I knew this was different. And since I have been writing about road rage cases, I was more aware of the possibilities.
By this point, my hands were shaking. I called 911, but was told they could only send an officer if I was stationary.
“That’s a terrible idea,” I told the dispatcher.
The guy had been following me for several miles now — from 441 to Ives Dairy Road.
Of course, my luck, it was, as I said before, Easter Sunday, so nothing was open. And it was after midnight by this point. Pulling over was not an option.
And while the dispatcher didn’t send anyone to help me, he did manage to keep me calm.
The dispatcher told me to drive to a police station. The station was far from where I was. The dispatcher again told me that was my best bet.
As I headed to the station, the driver came up next to me (I continued to look forward) and the next thing I knew he pulled up close to the side of my car, hit it, and took off on the Interstate 95 ramp.
I pulled over and waited for an officer to arrive.
I like to think that I am not the type to scare easily. I was terrified. There was no one around, and he could have pulled a gun and no one would have known.
I am not an aggressive driver, so my decision not to engage in playing chicken probably set him off more.
For me, the moral of the story is always be aware of your surroundings. Call 911. Just because you follow the rules of the road, doesn’t mean others do.