Monday, October 12, 2015

A Brief Moment of Insanity - AKA Tesla is Awesome!

Usually when you go on a family trip and you find yourself going insane, it is a “bad thing.” On a recent family trip, I was blown away to find out how good of a thing it could be.

We had been driving in our Tesla P85D for about 7 hours on a road trip to Disneyland. Traffic was actually moving well in LA, probably because it was late in the evening. We were on the freeway in the carpool lane and the minivan in front of us slammed on the brakes and started to fishtail around. Unfortunately, I could not see through or past the minivan. Without knowing what was ahead, I tried to slow down just a little bit faster than they were able to slow down. After a few seconds, the minivan managed to stop just to the right of the wreck. I could finally see what the problem was. There was a car smashed into the center divider, with no lights on, in the dark, blocking the entire carpool lane and shoulder. The wrecked car looked like they had hit the concrete center divider really hard and it had probably spun around since the car was facing diagonally towards us. We were heading straight towards the driver’s door, fast.

Naturally, I slammed on the brakes. I am very glad for the traction control systems on the Tesla that helped me come to a stop before hitting the wrecked car and the minivan in front of us. We managed to come to a full stop in the lane. At this point, I realized I had a bit of a problem. The minivan started to slowly and cautiously go around the wrecked car and its debris, blocking the lane to the right. The car behind me, did not appear to have been paying attention and had not yet spotted the wreck. They still appeared to be going about 65 miles per hour, racing towards impact. My first thought was there was no way out and I was starting to worry about what’s going to happen to my family, my car, my trip, etc. My second thought was to keep looking for a way out. I am glad I did. While I was scanning around me to get us out of what seemed to be an inevitable crash, the minivan almost cleared the wreck and was starting to move to the left, in front of the wreck, which meant that I had a potential window of opportunity to get my family out of this mess. I quickly looked back and noticed that the next car coming up in the lane to the right was about 150 feet back, giving me the potential to squeeze myself out of the lane I was in if I moved very fast

I started to accelerate to the right to make my exit. I saw some debris in the lane that looked like a decent sized chunk of bumper from the wrecked car. I am always mindful about running over any debris, because I had an unfortunate episode years ago when I punctured the transmission of then my “SUV” when I had to run over a rock on the road to keep from going off a cliff. I quickly remembered that I had a metal plate on the bottom of my Tesla that could crush paving stones ( I stomped the gas, launched the car, and avoided being turned into a car sandwich. At this point, three things happened. One, my car got out of there really really fast with insane mode acceleration. Two, the car behind us (which was not a Tesla) was, unfortunately, not even close to being able to stop in time and slammed into the wrecked car. Three, every item in our trunk, which was packed to the brim for the road trip, shifted toward the back of the car with a loud “thunk” with the insane acceleration.

We got out of there in the nick of time, because that “thunk” we felt when our luggage shifted coincided with the “crash” we heard when the car behind us that was unable to stop in time and hit the wreck. If we didn’t vacate that spot, as fast as we did, we would have been sandwiched between the wreck and the car behind us. 

We were incredulous and in awe that we managed to escape that brutal accident unscathed. We stopped as soon as we could find a safe place and made sure the police and ambulance were on the way. We also looked over the car from top to bottom, front to back for any damage. The people, the car, and the luggage were all fine. 

I must confess that some members of my family were not big fans of my Tesla when I purchased it. They thought it cost too much to pay for “just a car” and all the bells and whistles along with the incredible speed and acceleration were impractical and unnecessary. They were confused on why would anyone want or need a family car to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds? One child was even pouty at the start of the trip because they wanted to drive the other car to Disneyland. After this incident, they are well aware that if we were driving any other car on the market (this was before the “ludicrous” mode), things would have ended a lot differently. The “Insane” mode of my Tesla afforded me the precious few seconds to get us out of the impact zone and drive away without a scratch. The steel bottom plate of the Tesla is a nice bonus that insured us against a ride in a tow truck. 

Needless to say, every member of my family is now completely and absolutely appreciative of my Tesla and all of its “bells and whistles”. It is not “just a car” anymore, it’s a peace of mind as well as almost an incredible advantage that affords you that few extra seconds that can make all the difference between ending up in a hospital or at your desired destination. 

I have loved Tesla since they were working on the roadster, when I started hearing tales of their trials, tribulations, and successes. I love the fact that they are an American car, the lack of emissions, the lack of exhaust pipes, the great thought that went into safety, and Tesla’s assistance in pushing forward electric cars and clean energy. I also, love to accelerate it.

I am happily waiting in line to upgrade my car to ludicrous mode.

Thank You Tesla!

TLDR; Going "Insane" for a little bit in my Tesla P85D saved me from a becoming a car sandwich with my wife and my two children in the car.