Friday, December 23, 2005


And the “Greatest Skill at Controlling a Skid” and “Most Calm after Near-Serious-Accident” Award goes to… ME! (If I may be so presumptuous…. I was alone in the car and have no witnesses, other than the TRUCK DRIVER that made such an award possible). I was very efficient in my near-death experience this morning, took hardly any time at all out of the busy day, horrray!

The morning was wet and foggy, with a glaze of ice. I was headed down a soupy hill without much view of the bottom. By the time I got about half way down the hill, I could see a large SEMI-TRUCK carrying big metal fittings turning left off a side street to go uphill, directly into my path. Applied brakes, began skidding on the ice. Went sideways one way, (wheee!), turned wheel, went sideways the other way (wheee!). It really felt like skiing in my car… a little Toyota slalom! Time slowed down enough for these thoughts to enter my mind:

“Uh, oh,,. this is bad. So this is what it’s like to be headed uncontrollably towards an oncoming Semi. Shit. Correct skid, turn wheel. Ok, he sees me, isn’t going that fast. Might not be too bad. Hmmm, telephone pole over there. Not so great to hit, either, but better than semi. Turn wheel, skid other way. Good, the snow’s slowing me down. Turn wheel, try to get straightened out....Go slightly into ditch…whoomp! OK!”

Aha. I managed to make enough skid corrections to end up only part-way in the ditch. The car was pointed in pretty much the right direction and I didn’t even hit anything!!
(Anti-lock brakes? Haha. So THIS century- my car even pre-dates CUPHOLDERS. I wouldn’t know what to do with those fancy smchancy features on new cars. My car is 4WD, gets around just fine, and I’m proud of my skid-control skills.).

But even my little super-toyota couldn’t drive itself out the snowy ditch. I very calmly looked around, waved at the trucker, got out my phone and realized I didn’t have service out there. Hmmm. I vaguely knew who lived in the house nearby, thought about going there… but Mr. Semi-Driver was maneuvering the big trailer-truck around, coming to a stop on the left side of the road next to me.

He said, “Turn your lights on next time!” and I realized to my horror that I HADN’T had my full lights on, just the running lights. I ALWAYS drive with my lights on, and have to harass W to turn them on most mornings he’s driving (he has some slightly twisted conservation ethic that crosses over from house lights to car lights… can’t waste energy, you know). Don’t know what happened… it was definitely a day to be using one’s lights in a white, fog-colored car.

So I was slightly chagrined and couldn’t really blame the driver, who turned out to be very calm and quite nice. He jumped out of the cab, said Hi, and pulled out a big chain. He thought he could just, ah, pull the car out. He told me to wave when he had pulled his rig in line with the bumper. I supervised the placing of the chains on the car’s back tow loops, and soon found myself in the car, moving backwards (with a few ominous popping noises) and was soon yanked out onto the road by the immense, metal-thingee carrying tractor-trailor. Nothing to it!

Everything looked OK, no car damage. I remember my dad yanking my friends’ cars out of the ditch with a Pickup years ago, so wasn’t too worried about the process. Within 10 minutes I was back on my way to work, no problem at all. I was only a few minutes late to work after that little adventure!

Thank Heavens for calm drivers, of both Toyotas and giant Semi-Trucks. And yes, I will graciously accept those awards on behalf of my morning self. I send a thanks to the driver, whoever he was (we didn’t exchange names). And please, drive with your LIGHTS ON!

1 comment:

Liz said...

Whew! Now that's an exciting way to start the day. ;) I had a similar incident a few weeks ago, only it was raining and there was no one else on the road (and James was in the car, too). I have never skidded or fishtailed before, so I was pretty shaken up about it. It makes you realize how dangerous driving is.
Glad everything turned out ok.