It’s true. It’s not something I think about very often, but I will never forget it. It was years ago, late 1970s, and I was a newly licensed kid on my way from Thanksgiving dinner at my family’s house in New Windsor to my sister’s house not too far away in Beaver Dam. I was on Rte 94, a mile or two past five corners in Vails Gate.

The next thing I know, the guy passes me illegally, sideswipes my car, and proceeds to hit an oncoming car head on.

I remember the car coming up from behind and tailgating me something awful. I mean, this guy was almost touching my back bumper, or at least it felt that way. Here’s the bad part that I still regret. I’m pretty sure I gave him the finger. The next thing I know, the guy passes me illegally, sideswipes my car, and proceeds to hit an oncoming car head on. I’ll never forget how scary it was. My car wasn’t hit too bad, and I was able to pull over. The guy behind me and the car he hit both ended up in the front yard of a house on Route 94. It was so quiet, and then so noisy. Thankfully everyone survived. Everything after that is still a blur.

But I do remember finding out that the driver of the car that caused the accident was drunk. A drunk driver wasn’t that uncommon back then, but I’m glad I learned early on how dangerous driving drunk can be.

The world is much wiser these days, and the roads are safer, but still not safe enough. If you’ve been drinking and think it’s okay to drive, think again. I got lucky that night, it could have been much worse. Have a safe and happy holiday season, and if you’ve been drinking, please don’t get behind the wheel. There are a lot of people we all love out on those roads.

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