That Time We Had a Run-in With a Semi

So, I sort of ruined the story with the title of this post, but that’s pretty much all there is to it. We were en shuttle route from Semuc Champey to Antigua when I heard a woman from near the front of the van yell, “Holy sh*t!!!” I looked up, and immediately saw what had caused this reaction.

We had been travelling along an undivided highway through twisty and hilly Guatemalan countryside. We were currently travelling up a hill, and our side of the road had widened to include a passing lane. Our driver was taking advantage of the opportunity to overtake the large truck in front of us. At the same time, foolishly, a semi trailer on the other side of the road (travelling downhill) decided on the same moment to cross the double yellow line on his side of the road in an attempt to overtake the vehicle in front of him (a couple hundred metres before a corner, as well). Luckily, there was enough time for our driver to slam on the breaks (moving over was impossible, due to the fact that we were passing). The oncoming truck had more trouble slowing down, as it was a semi barrelling downhill. We must have been nearly stopped by the time the truck, still travelling at maybe 30 k.m./hour collided with us.

It was jolting. Tim, who had been dozing next to me, was thrown forward. Luckily neither of us received an injury more serious than a scraped toe and a bruised leg. The driver of our shuttle caught the worst of it, as it was where he was sitting that had suffered the most direct hit. Still, he seemed overall fine, just a bit bumped and bruised.

After a frantic chorus of, “Is everyone okay?” and receiving the appropriate assurances, someone made the logical suggestion that we all should get out of the van. We were now stopped in the centre of two lanes, not an ideal position to be in when traffic was flying two-deep around the corner from a couple hundred metres away. We all clambered out and took up positions at the side of the road.

Crash 20140225-IMG_9288

At this point, it was basically up to us. A couple of people jumped on the first public bus that came along, not wanting to waste any time in getting to their next destination. A few more jumped in with a van that came along, after negotiating a ride to Antigua for 100Q each. With no hurry and even less of a desire to spend much more money, the rest of us opted for the option to wait. We were promised by the driver that a new shuttle would be coming from Coban, and would take 2-3 hours to arrive. In the meantime, we would be transported (by ambience, nonetheless) to a nearby rest stop. The rest stop sold alcohol. Win.


We had a few drinks, had a good laugh, and made it the remainder of the way to Antigua (in the dark, of course) without incident.


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