The last leg of my commute is a stretch of I-95. I don’t usually think too much about it as I’m almost at work and the drive is pretty straight forward.

The other day I was on this stretch and got in the left lane to pass a tractor trailer.  As I moved over, I slowed down slightly since there was a Volvo in front of me and we were going around a curve.

Thank goodness I slowed down.

All of the sudden there was a huge BANG! as the truck’s rear tire exploded. In between the cloud of smoke and flying rubber (part of which slammed into my mirror), I was able to make out the rear of the truck veering into my lane.

Oh my God.

Instinctively, the Volvo in front of me slammed on their brakes, which left me with three options: get hit by truck, slam into the Volvo while getting hit by the truck, or move over as far to the left as I could without hitting the guard rail.

I chose option three.

As my car rode precariously along the shoulder, my side mirror just inches from the guard rail, the truck’s tail end wove in and out of the space between me and the Volvo before the driver was able to regain control and pull over. If I hadn’t slowed down during my initial pass, I probably wouldn’t be here.

It all happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to do anything but react. It wasn’t until I got off my exit that I noticed my hands were shaking.

This morning as I drove by that very spot, I noticed a set of tread marks veering off to the left. A set of tread marks that are dangerously close to leading a car head-first into a tree.

Those are my tread marks.

I am truly thankful that I am able to drive by those marks today, as a reminder to be careful, to be cautious and to not take anything for granted.

Thank goodness I slowed down.