Yesterday I was headed home from West Texas back to San Antonio for work. I stopped on the side of I-10 to get phone service to make phone calls and organize a couple things. I also had to wait to see if I was going to be able to go home or back the 2 hours to Odessa. As I sat there, various vehicles passed. I stopped next to a cut out in the divider and a trail leading to the frontage road (a little road that parallels the highway if you aren’t from around Texas). I was there for a little over half an hour when a guy in a gator drove up the frontage road and then cut up towards the highway.
At first, I wasn’t worried because people are generally nice in Texas and he just might be a rancher that wanted to see if I needed help. I was in the middle of nowhere, with the nearest gas station 60 miles in either direction. Of course, I was studying him and his vehicle as he turned the corner and came up the little gravel path onto the highway right in front of me. As the cart turned, I noticed the rifle stuck muzzle down and butt up sitting on his floorboard and seat next to him.
As the little vehicle bounced the 50 feet or gravel road, I saw him reach over to grab the rifle. At first I went “Sh#$” thinking he might want my truck or worse. I was sitting with the truck idling like I always do. So when I saw the rifle and him reach for it, I threw the truck in gear and turned my wheels toward the little vehicle ready to run him down if he lifted the rifle.
Luckily, this wasn’t what it appeared to be, and the guy was just holding the rifle as he went over the bumpy terrain. He didn’t even give me a second look as he drove across the highway and the median to get to a gate on the other side.
Do you leave your vehicle running when you are sitting in it? Are your doors locked? Do you have a plan to get away? When I stopped, I planned my escape. Since the speed limit is 80 MPH on that part of the highway and there is a lot of truck traffic, pulling onto the highway in an emergency isn’t a good idea. The ground was solid along the side of the highway and I drive a big truck so my escape route was the deserted frontage road.
If you are going to sit in your car to get some work, park where you can see people coming, know where your escape route is and have an alternate, keep your engine running and stay in the driver’s seat, and doors locked. Most importantly, make sure you look up every once in a while to make sure no one is close to your vehicle.