Subcompact took on new meaning last night for Sharon Taylor of Baltimore. Maryland state police said her car's small size was the reason she walked away from an encounter with a tractor-trailer on I-95 with only a bruise.

Taylor, 26, who had gotten her driver's license four days previously, was driving her Hyundai subcompact north on I-95 in Howard County, said State Trooper G.C. Taylor (who is not related to the motorist).

He said a truck driven by Robert Jay Roy, 28, of Parsons, W.Va., who was in his first day on the job in the tractor-trailer, was headed in the same direction.

At about 7 p.m. the truck started a U-turn on the highway about a half mile south of Rte. 100, trooper Taylor said.

The tractor-trailer was turned across the four northbound lanes as the subcompact approached, the trooper said.

Sharon Taylor managed to swerve her car so it missed the truck's wheels and stopped beneath the trailer, trooper Taylor said, adding: "If her car had been any bigger, she could have been decapitated."

As it was, the Hyundai ended up with a small scratch on the hood, Sharon Taylor with a bruise on her forearm and Roy with a ticket charging negligent driving, trooper Taylor said.

"It was like a TV show," another state trooper remarked.