Route 45, a long east-west highway in western Tennessee, stretched before me. I was on my way home from an afternoon physical therapy session for my sore shoulder, when, all at once, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. Why was I so exhausted?
The hot tub, I thought. Part of my treatment was soaking in the warm whirling jets. It always relaxed me but I’d never been this wiped out before. I needed a hot cup of coffee—fast! There was a McDonald’s just down the road, about 15 minutes away. I knew I could make it that far.
I scanned the radio clock. Five minutes…10 minutes…almost there. My eyelids felt as if they were being pulled down by weights. I rolled down the windows, pumped the air-conditioning—anything to stay awake. Please protect me, Lord, I prayed.
That’s the last thing I remember.
Thrraaap! A deafening vibration jolted me awake. My car had slid onto the rumble strip on the side of the highway. I was headed straight for a ditch! I jerked the wheel, just missed hitting a pickup truck, and came to a screeching halt at a red light. As soon as I could, I pulled over on the side of the road. I sat there for a few minutes, catching my breath. I was fine…but to think of what could’ve happened!
A few months later, my friend and I were driving along Route 45 when we came upon the same stretch of the highway where I’d had my near-accident. I recognized it from the stoplight up ahead. “Thank God for that rumble strip, it saved my life,” I said, pointing up ahead to the side of the road.
“Where, Jean?” she said.
We both glanced over. There was no rumble strip! I slowed down, inched my car over, and drove close to the edge of the highway where they are typically placed. Still, nothing.
I knew who really woke me up that afternoon.