The Instant Before Impact Seems to Last Forever in a Rollover Crash

The instant our truck started to slide, time slowed down. Would we end up victims in a rollover crash? #carwreck #providence #Godisgood #family #love #toyotatundra #blackice #seatbeltssavelives #fmfparty #grateful #blessed

The instant our truck started to slide, time slowed down. Would we end up victims in a rollover crash?

The instant our truck started to slide, time slowed down. Would we end up victims in a rollover crash? #carwreck #providence #Godisgood #family #love #toyotatundra #blackice #seatbeltssavelives #fmfparty #grateful #blessed

The Instant Seared in My Memory

“Send me the link,” I told Laura, happy that she’d found a Black Friday deal on a train set for Abel. Now that the girls have grown up and have their own lives, we don’t get to spend much time together. I sighed with contentment. We’d left early, had a Coffee Friday date, and had plenty of time to reach the airport before Sarah’s flight left.

“On it,” she said from the back seat.

Sarah started to say something, but the instant I heard her voice, the back of our truck slid to the right.

How could this happen? I thought to myself. The road is dry. I lifted my foot from the accelerator and watched in horror as the truck seemed to pick up speed as it spun towards the median.

 “Help us, Jesus!” I whispered.

A thousand thoughts crowded my mind, but the thought, “Everything will be fine,” wrapped me like a warm blanket. I hope no other vehicles get in our way. Toyota engineers designed the Tundra for safety. Everyone has their seatbelts on. I didn’t need to check. We always wear our seatbelts. Always.

This will hurt. I can’t believe this. What if this turns into a rollover crash? The roads looked dry and clear.

From Slow-Mo to Rollover Crash

The instant of impact sped time up. I could hear metal grinding on snow. I know we rolled at least once. We slid forever, rocking back and forth. Each jolt slightly less intense than the last.

When the truck stopped moving, we hung upside down in stunned silence for a heartbeat.

“Is everyone ok?”

“Are you hurt?”

“I can’t open my door!”

“We need to get out!”

Seconds later, we could hear calm voices outside.

“We’ll get you out.”

“How many people are inside?”

“Any children in there?”

Kind strangers helped us exit through the passenger door and huddled around us in the sub-zero cold of the median. We assessed our injuries. I had two tiny cuts on my hands. Laura had a small cut on her finger. Sarah had none.

They herded us to a warm truck and waited with us while the police came to file a report. One young man kept returning to our truck to locate our phones, purses, luggage, and essential papers.

Time wavered between fast and slow as we relived the experience, handled details, and consoled each other.

Peace During Chaos

A week has passed since the instant of impact. These things I know:

God is good.

The Holy Spirit feels like a warm blanket during a violent rollover crash.

Seatbelts save lives (and cut down on injuries).

Love hard because it’s all that really matters. Say ‘I love you’ often (with both words and actions).

Life is precious—don’t waste it.

We were created for a purpose, don’t let fear prevent you from finding yours.

God is good.

“I am leaving you with a gift of peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Jesus (John 14:27 NLT)
The instant our truck started to slide, time slowed down. Would we end up victims in a rollover crash? #carwreck #providence #Godisgood #family #love #toyotatundra #blackice #seatbeltssavelives #fmfparty #grateful #blessed

This post is part of the Five-Minute Friday quick write hosted by Kate Moutang. Join us each Thursday night on Twitter (#FMFParty) for fun and fellowship, then grab a pen and start writing when the prompt goes live!


  1. What an experience. I recognise that phenomena of time speeding up and slowing down. I was in a crash, praying as smoke enveloped me from the burning car in front.A quick thinking lorry driver screechied to a halt and flashed all his lights so that everyone stopped. It was both the longest and the shortest moment of my life, and I still have a life thanks to God’s protection, and that driver.

  2. And so the Lord did bend to save
    a friend I’ve never chanced to meet,
    but who always online gave
    a wisdom that was sere and sweet.
    I would not have known the loss,
    but would ken an absent friend
    and would have felt the painful cost
    of relationship at end.
    But here you are, now, safe and sound!
    Here you are to testify
    that in God’s hand you have been found,
    and so, please, why on earth do I
    find an echo of my fears
    in sudden eyes that hold hot tears?

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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