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A Not-So-Idle Wednesday

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I woke up this morning and looked outside as I heard the rain beating down on our roof. I got dressed, got my daughter dressed, we both put on our jackets, and left to go to the babysitters.

One bad thing about Californians is that they seem to completely forget how to drive when the weather is anything but sunny. Heavy fog? Hi-Beams and 90 MPH speeds. Heavy Rain? Swirving in and out of traffic without a blinker.

I always make it a point to be extra careful when my daughter’s in the car, and even more careful when the weather is bad. I don’t want to be one of those idiots that gets in an accident when it’s raining.

I am an idiot.

I was in the carpool lane going about 55–60 MPH when I hit a large puddle in my lane. I realized that I was hydroplaning towards the center divide, and had no tire traction. I applied my brake to slow down, and turned my steering wheel a bit to the right to try and correct. My car kept turning to the left, and natural instinct told me to turn the wheel more to the right.

Just then, my tires regained traction again. My car turned about 140° to the right as I began heading west on a north-south freeway. After crossing three lanes of traffic, and watching hundreds of headlights coming straight at me, with many people swirving to the right and left of me, I was hit by a late-model Ford Mustang, which then pointed me back northbound.

I pulled over to the shoulder, turned around to my daughter in her car seat, and asked if she was alright. With a concerned look on her face, she said “Yah. Okay, daddy.”

Everyone is alright, but our cars are pretty messed up. I’m moving to a new apartment on Saturday, and now I have to cough up $500 for my insurance deductible. Standing out in the rain talking to the police officer and the guy in the Mustang was a blur. I don’t really remember much of what happened. I do remember getting back into my car, calling my wife to let her know that I was okay, and thanking God that nobody was hurt.

I didn’t know whether to laugh from the relief that no one was hurt, or to cry because my daughter and I were almost killed today. Oh, thank God she’s okay.

That was two hours ago. I still can’t stop shaking.

Ryan Parman

is an engineering manager with over 20 years of experience across software development, site reliability engineering, and security. He is the creator of SimplePie and AWS SDK for PHP, patented multifactor-authentication-as-a-service at WePay, defined much of the CI/CD and SRE disciplines at McGraw-Hill Education, and came up with the idea of “serverless, event-driven, responsive functions in the cloud” while at Amazon Web Services in 2010. Ryan's aptly-named blog, , is where he writes about ideas longer than . Ambivert. Curious. Not a coffee drinker.