On the way back up to Maine, the coordinator asked if I would drive with her sixteen-year old daughter and let her daughter practice driving. Pas de problème.
Well, it wasn’t a problem until a torrential downpour overtook us. My young apprentice was nervous, but I knew she was level headed. We were on that stretch of I-95 that has little in the way of pull-offs. The windshield wipers whipped back and forth. I noticed our speed was picking up.
I looked at the girl driving and saw what she felt: she had no control of the car. The car started moving out into a huge curve.
“Relax.” I said calmly.
The car swept around, making a second swerve across the two lanes of traffic.
“Okay.” I said, “Sit back deeper in the seat.” I knew there was absolutely nothing we could do but hope that no cars would hit us and that we would eventually stop. “Just wait.”
The car did a third, slower circular sweep across the lanes, this time more to the left. The tires hit the grassy median. I reached over and put my hand on the steering wheel to feel if there was anything there to steer. Yes. Just a bit. I took my hand off the wheel, “Keep her straight on the grass. Try the brake.”
We ended up facing back toward the highway, like a cop-car looking for speeders. We both were shaking a bit as we laughed at our luck.
“Hey, you want me to drive for a bit?” I offered.