Friday, January 17, 2014

Grateful to Be Home, and Well, Alive

I grew up with a healthy respect for driving in Ohio snow and ice even before I got my driver's license. Every winter of my childhood, I watched the weather forecast on the evening news with my parents wishing with all of my might to hear those magical words, "snow day."

During the broadcast, and almost always before they showed the school closings, the weather people ran down the tips for safe driving in lake effect snow. After awhile, snow driving techniques become ingrained in your brain, like The Pledge of Allegiance (pump your brakes, drive slow and steady not stop and start, keep two car lengths ahead and behind you, etc.) I wish the rest of the state did it too.

Then maybe I wouldn't have gotten hit by three cars last night.

I put a rice bag into the freezer so I can use it as an ice pack on my sore neck. You can learn how to make a rice bag ice and heating pad here. 

Last night, I got into the car to run a couple of errands before the light snow that just started falling accumulated to the predicted 2 to 4 inches of not fun to drive in at all.


Before I left home I told Husband  I had my phone with me just in case. He agreed it was a good idea to take it. I'm glad I did.

Black ice started to form on the roads. In my head I started going over all of those winter driving precautions I knew by heart as I slow and steadily drove 15 MPH in a 45 zone.

Just as I thought, "always turn into a skid" my car skidded on a patch of black ice.

I turned into the skid, which thankfully was in the direction of my lane, and landed off the road and into the gravel berm and an adjoining lawn.

Whew.

I looked around to get my bearings. I was off the road so I wasn't blocking it and the cars behind me could pass. Good.

I gave a little thank you to the antique Ford Safety Guy movie they showed us in Driver's Ed because I just did what he taught us to do. Go me.

As I turned my head to get my bearings and figure out how I can safely pull back onto the road, two bright halogen lights blinded me and hit my car hard. 

CAR-JUNK!


What happened?

CAR-JUNK!

Is that another car hitting me?

THUNK! 

How is this happening? My car was fine. I turned into a skid, out of traffic, and off the road!

After I pulled off to the side of the road, the first car hit my passenger side door (I'll call them Car 2.)

Then another car (Car 3) hit Car 2 and me (Car 1.)

Finally, a fourth car (Car 4) hit Car 3 which I also felt. That's when I figured  I better get out of my car before I felt another hit.

I  saw a 5th car on the other side of the road when I got out of mine to check the damage. It didn't hit me/us but someone in a passing car said it was involved in some way. No one was injured. Although I am touched at how many strangers called the police about the accident, checked if I was OK after several hits, or offered to let me use their phone if I didn't have one.

The Columbus Police Department rocked it too. They told me they already dispatched a cruiser before I called it in. A police van, a cruiser, and a tow truck (luckily I didn't need it) quickly made it to the scene. They quickly assessed the situation, and efficiently planned to get the cars involved sorted and the blocked roadway clear.

My neck and my lower back are a little stiff and sore but other than that I'm OK.

Apparently that is one nasty patch of black ice! Husband suspects there may be some not staying at a sure and clear distance from the cars behind me. I suspect they may not have been driving faster than they should in such conditions too.

 I heard scraping sounds as I drove home even more slowly than I was driving before. I hoped the scraping was a bend in the wheel well or fender and not the frame. This is when having a little too much DIY knowledge can send your thoughts straight into Worse Case Scenario. I was nervous (which is saying a lot, given where I learned to drive.) The conditions were getting worse and if it were the frame, or axle, or this, or that.in these conditions....

I am so thankful to make it home in one piece.

Husband looked at the car after I told him about the scraping noise. He thinks the axle may be bent. If that's the case, then we have to replace the car we are already making payments on and so close after holiday spending.

On the bright side, I'm lucky to only have a sore neck and back. The situation could have been much, much, worse. I also have an  incentive to list those items that I keep putting off on eBay. Momma's got a lot of unexpected up front expenses to cover.

Crap.

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