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How our 5ktq saved my a** (long)

Apologies in advance to those who feel this post to be a WOB...you may hit
"delete" now. ;-)

Coming home from our family vacation to the snow in Mt. Lassen Ntl. Park (in
which we had no troubles thanks to the q) I had a very scary near miss. This
after already driving for 3 1/2 hours in storm (wind and rain) conditions in
holiday traffic (Red Bluff to Santa Cruz for those who know CA). I was on the
last leg of my trip home on Hwy 17 (a nasty little pass between San Jose and
Santa Cruz) around 9:30 pm, raining pretty hard but good visibility...I was in
the right lane and came upon a car stalled in the right lane (why it hadn't
pulled off on the shoulder boggles me) with no place for me to go...I had
precious little time to think but knowing I have ABS just jumped all over the
brakes, the ABS kept the car straight and scrubbed off lots of speed. At the
last instant I had enough room to my left (I was blocked by two cars from
changing lanes right away like the car in front of me managed to do) to swerve
hard around this car. This all happened very quickly and my reactions were
instinct only...yes I do need to build that instinct more from some track
events, but thank goodness we didn't have contact this time.

In reflection I realized this was not only my worst scare ever on Hwy 17 (aka
highway from hell, killer road, etc.) even though I commuted it for nearly 10
years in all sorts of cars, it was also the first time I can say absolutely
that driving a quattro saved me from what could have been a horiffic
accident...with my whole family in the car coming home from a wonderful
vacation. Yes, many cars have ABS and that helped lots (good thing my center
diff was NOT locked like it was when I was in snow...I won't ever be locking
it in the rain again for this reason alone), but the ability to make what was
a seemingly impossible swerve after scrubbing off the speed thanks to quattro
and great handling was key. I can honestly say that if I had been driving any
other car I have ever owned (other than a quattro) this accident could not
have been avoided. This is the first time I can state this after owning 6
quattros for the past decade...thank you Audi, and thank you to all here on
this list who help me to keep this jewel of a car running. It truly lived up
to the name I gave it (Lucky 7 for being my 7'th Audi) and endeared itself to
me and my family. My fiance called it "great driving" but I give all the
credit to the car because I know this was too close for comfort and I needed
all the help I could get. The ironic part is she (my fiance) was not happy
with my buying this car (87 5kcstq) saying the 4kq we had was fine for us for
now...her stance changed months ago, but it was solidified that night. Since
we needed a roof-top box on racks to fit all our stuff (family of 5) on the
4kq last year, and it had no ABS, I am certain that we would not have fared so
well had this occured in it.

I also look back to see what if anything more I could have done to avoid
this...since there was no contact I suppose I did okay but I am second
guessing myself. Maybe if I had going a bit slower? Not been in the right
lane? (I was there cuz the left lane was clogged with slow traffic) Dunno...I
count myself and my family very lucky but wished to share this experience with
you all so that maybe we can all learn something from it. I'm still not sure
what, other than to validate that the cars we all love here are truly
wonderful, that track time and training (which I don't have) is essential, and
that we all need to be very aware all the time and react instantly at times
like this...one can never be too careful.

BTW, sadly there was a wmb Z3 about a mile later that was not so lucky...the
car was upside down and the occupants were still trying to get out (with help
from folks who stopped)...looks as though those little roll bars did their job
but that was a very scary thing to see so soon after our experience. A bad
night on 17 for sure.

Thanks to all of you who made it this far...drive safe.

Mike Veglia
87 5kcstq (made itself part of the family now)