SINGAPORE (THE NEW PAPER) - When she saw an object flying from an open-top lorry towards her motorcycle, she thought it was a piece of string.
Then Ms Ismawati Ali, 40, realised it was an iron pipe or rod - and it was heading towards her head.
She managed to duck her head out of the way while maintaining control of her 800cc Kawasaki Z800 motorcycle.
But the object struck her left shoulder, with the impact causing her to jerk backwards and the bike to wobble on the Pan-Island Expressway.
Fortunately, she managed to steady herself and continue riding towards Bukit Batok, where she was meeting a Carousell seller, on Thursday evening last week (Jan 9).
Ms Ismawati, 40, told The New Paper on Sunday that the incident occurred when she was travelling at 75kmh on the right-most lane, about a car length's behind the lorry, which was in the centre lane.
It was laden with metal recyclables such as iron scraps.
The accountant said: "When the metre-long pipe flew towards me, I quickly bent down and it hit my shoulder really hard. My shoulder jerked sharply backwards.
"My bike wobbled a little, and I gripped the handlebars tightly to prevent it from going out of control."
Ms Ismawati, who posted about her close shave on Facebook on Saturday, added: "I was lucky because the pipe could have hit me on the head.
"I could have landed on the road and would most likely be run over by the car behind me."
The single mother of a 12- year-old girl, said: "The whole time I was praying, 'Please don't let me die.' I still have a daughter who depends on me."
By then, the lorry had vanished from view, and she continued riding to her destination.
"My mind was messed up and I didn't want to take any chances. I didn't want to risk another accident," she said.
Her shoulder was also throbbing in pain. But it was only when she felt something warm trickling down her arm did she suspect that she was bleeding.
Ms Ismawati said: "When I met the Carousell seller, she was shocked and asked me why my sleeve was wet."
SOAKED WITH BLOOD
She glanced down and saw a small tear on her dark purple blouse. The sleeve was soaked with blood. She decided to return home, which was a five-minute ride away.
But when she reached the foot of her block, she felt giddy and took a taxi to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in Jurong East.
"The doctors showed me a picture of my cut and I thought it looked very deep and really bad," Ms Ismawati told TNP.
The wound needed about 12 stitches, which took 45 minutes to complete. An X-ray was also taken of her shoulder.
She was given a week of medical leave and kept for observation until she was discharged at about 3am the next day. She made a police report about the incident later that day.
This is not the first time Ms Ismawati was involved in an accident. When she was a Pizza Hut delivery rider about 17 years ago, she was flung off her motorbike in a collision with a car.
She broke her femur and needed to have a metal implant in her leg.
After this accident, Ms Ismawati - a seasoned rider of 20 years and also a former police officer - plans to downgrade from her current bike, which cost her about $18,000 about five years ago, to a scooter.
She said: "I've had enough of touring with the bike to Malaysia and Thailand. I just want to be safe now."