Sorry I Accidentally Drove My Jeep Onto the Runway at Pease International Airport in New Hampshire
So first of all, it was nighttime. That is both scientifically and statistically proven to make driving extra dangerous, right? Drat. As it turns out, that’s nowhere near the most dangerous time to drive in New Hampshire. But it didn’t help!
It all happened in the fall of 1999. I’d been battling some health issues that summer, so even though I was 16 and had just gotten my license, I hadn’t been doing much driving. One evening, I was headed home from a 5:30 appointment at Portsmouth Hospital when I took what I thought was the I-95 exit to Greenland.
And I had every right to think that’s what it was, as it had been the exit to Greenland on the way home from all those trips to the Fox Run Mall with dad when I was little. But in the summer of '99, some construction had apparently taken place, and we didn’t yet have smartphones with which to read community information.
The first red flag was the giant airplane. I’ve had my run-ins with deer driving in New Hampshire. But this was the first airplane. And was that an airplane engine I heard?
I’d have to listen harder, because before I knew it, one of those guys in the yellow vests with those orange sticks was running towards me. This was when I realized I had somehow exited from an unfinished exit ramp onto the runway at Pease.
It’s also when I remembered Mom was a newspaper editor, and dad a Navy pilot. So, just because I'd avoided death didn't mean I'd avoided death.
For reasons I still don’t know (they probably didn’t want people being aware this was possible to do?), the guys with the sticks helped back me my car off the runway, get back onto the road, and skedaddle to the new exit to Greenland. And 24 years later, this is the first I’m speaking of it.
I’m doing so not to make you laugh, but because driving in New England over the past six to eight months is the worst I can remember. I don’t know if it’s road rust from working remotely, distractions from smartphones, or just general angst among commuters. But I see three or four very close calls a week.
In fact, I made it out of one myself back in December.
Especially during these busy summer months, please be careful on the roads. Look both ways. Take your time. And try not to drive your car onto a runway (unless you're part of that secretive New England DeLorean club and need a place to take off).
Pease…and thank you.