I promised to never drive in the dark again plus drive long hours (which means, 4+ is a no no). Today I broke that promise and as a result, we could have had a potentially traumatic night.
The drive today was 5.5 hours with our estimated time arrival being at 7pm. We were less than an hour away to our destination when a car flashed its hazard lights in front of me. Let me back up a bit. It was dark and I was chatting with a friend via vtexts (whose home we were on our way to) about what was up with the roads being so bumpy and I was hoping my car would still be attached to Mer. I had my driver's ceiling lights on, so it was obviously visible that I, a female, was alone.
So, as I mentioned hoping that my car was still attached, I noticed a car to my left passed me and then slowed down. I noticed because the car obviously slowed down so fast that the van behind him braked so hard. You could see the braking motion of the entire van and it swerved. Then that car moved in front of me and started flashing the hazard lights. I then changed lane to avoid that car. As I did that, a man's arm waved frantically to me and I immediately understood that something was wrong with my RV or the car. I also realized that I could smell smoke, like burnt tires.
So, I turned on my flashers and pulled onto the shoulder right away. That man also pulled in front of me and got out of his car. He came towards my driver's side and started talking. I had my window half down and could understand that he was telling me that there was smoke coming out from the back of my car. The first thing I thought was, the tires were flat and probably flat for so long due to the road conditions. He then said, "come and look at the back, you can see the smoke coming out from the back of your car." I was slow to respond, thank god for that, and I said, "oh ok, hold on." and I texted to my friend. At the same time, I was getting ready to get out the door and saw that Eitan was going out too. I told him to stay in the RV and he said, "NO! I am not going to let you go alone!!" And it just hit me, wait a minute. I shouldn't get out. I turned and told the man if he could go and look for me. I then texted my friend that I did not feel safe and dropped a pin to my location. I told Eitan to lock the door and we waited. A good 3 minutes passed and he came back to my side.
I told him, "thank you for looking, I don't feel comfortable, can you please leave? I'll call the cops, thank you." He responded, "there's nothing there, nevermind." And left so fast.
I waited few minutes before getting out of Mer and walked to check my car. NOTHING. There wasn't even smoke. The tires looked great, the car was secure on Finder and nothing seemed off. Shaken, I got up so quick because I realized he could have come back and I nearly ripped my ring off of my finger as it snagged on Finder. I ran back to my rv and got back inside. I was shaking so hard. I sent a vtext to my friend telling her that there was nothing wrong and that the smoke I smell was actually smoke everywhere outside. I didn't process, at the time, that the man actually was up to no good and was hoping I'd get out of the car to look. I have no idea what he planned to do to me and the boys.
As I was texting and my hands were shaking (I sat there for a good ten minutes)... a tow truck showed up out of nowhere. WTF. I felt very unsafe and texted my friend with photos and asking her what to do. I kept all doors locked and wouldn't get out. The tow man came to the passenger side and I went over and told him through the crack of my window that everything is fine and I was pulled over by a man who said he saw smoke. The tow man said let me look, he went and came back and said "there's nothing wrong with the car or rv." "I know, the man who pulled me over tried to get me out of the rv."
He backed up a bit and said, "let me call the cops." He called the cops and he respected me by staying in his tow truck until the cops arrived. They asked me questions about what the car looked like and what the man looked like.
Finally, an hour later, I was able to leave. The cops followed me for awhile to make sure everything was safe. During that last 45 minutes leg before arriving at my friends, I replayed everything in my head over and over and thought, omg, what if.... if.... if.
I realize, it was my lights being on that let him know that I was alone and a female. I am SO grateful that instincts kicked in and that I stayed put in Mer rather than going out to the back with him.
For the first time ever with this trip, I do not feel safe as a woman (it doesn't help that two hours before at a gas station, a strange man in his jeep pulled up next to me when I was herding the boys into Mer, to tell me that I got nice legs).
So, two things out of this experience 1) never and ever pull over at night- slow down with hazards and call the cops, but just don't stop unless necessary and 2) never ever drive in the dark again.
just a mother who fled from society's constraints and is super excited to wake up to the outdoors, remain braless daily and teach her boys the art of boredom and discovery.