This morning I was driving in US101, full speed blasting my iPOD in Jay-Z’s newest release. It was a beautiful morning sunny, no rain and I was excited about the one-week holiday…ONE WHOLE WEEK! Various invitation to parties were flashing in my head and I was mentally trying to organize my holiday such that I can get the most out of it before returning to the mundane schedule of working life.
I approached the Cesar Chavez exit and as I was attempting to slow down, I realized that my brakes were not working! There was a black car ahead of me and I swerved around it missing it by inches. I hit my brakes again, multiple times and they seem to start working again. Then as I merged onto Potrero, I started cruising in the normal speed. I was to turn right at 23rd but I could not–my brakes had failed again!
Unable to turn right, I did manage to not hit the car that was turning right in front of me and go straight. I hit my brakes a couple of times and they seem to work fine again. Not able to understand what was going on I convinced myself that my brakes were fine.
I had to find parking ASAP and be at work on time so, I started looking for parking…a couple of lefts and a few rights brought me to the top of the Potrero Hills and I kind of felt that although my brakes were working I should consult a mechanic before the one and half hour ride to Fremont after work. I had seen an auto shop in Potrero and I decided to take my car there.
My horror amplified exponentially when I turned right on De Haro street from Rhode Island. I realized that I was descending the Potrero Hill without brakes! Clutching on to the steering and doing my best to not panic I started scanning one intersection after another for cars, lucky there were no cars. After safely flying through a few intersections and a few four-way stop signs, the car slowed down by the time reached 26th street and after the real rollercoaster ride I managed to get to the auto shop. Later I found out that the master cylinder which builds pressure for the hydraulic brakes to work had malfunctioned.
I am not sure whether to call myself lucky or to thank God because I could have had serious accidents at many instances during this incident. Had the light turned red after exiting 101, or at so many intersections in Potrero, or had there been cars at the intersections in the Potrero Hill, I probably would not be here….