Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Out of control

This in-between weather in northern Indiana creates difficulties.  Recently, in the span of approximately 20 hours, there was lemon yellow sunshine, blustery winds, temps of a balmy 51 degrees, pounding rain, precipitous drops in temperature and then snow.  It's confusing to know how to dress, whether to risk driving and what to do with hair that is very susceptible to weather quirks.  This past Saturday evening, I came home from a fundraiser in fairly mild temperatures and drizzly rain .  When I woke up on Sunday there was a benign-looking dusting of snow on the ground.  With a sense of disappointment that spring hadn't yet arrived, I got ready to leave the house.  Once in the car, I was careful to brake early approaching intersections - black ice is a real danger around here.  Things were going well and I was driving at a speed that seemed appropriate to road conditions - about 5 miles under posted limits.  There was a fair amount of traffic at 9:00 on a Sunday morning.  In a millisecond, a vehicle several car-lengths ahead of me began swerving and slipping across the road. In the next second I hit the same spot and was treated to a gut wrenching, adrenaline boosting roller coaster ride of trying to control a car that hit a solid sheet of ice going 35 miles an hour.  I know everyone says things like that seem to happen in slow motion and it's true.  By some miracle all the cars around me were suddenly gone and my car careered crazily  one moment heading straight for a tree, the next aimed at a very solid looking fire hydrant and then ... "WHACK" - the left rear wheel slammed hard into a high curbed median, the car skittered across two lanes and then gained enough traction for me to get it into a deserted parking lot to assess the damage.  I had to sit in the car for a few minutes trying to wrest my fingers from the steering wheel shaking my head in disbelief and relief that, for a second time in my life, I had a car accident (incident) that involved only myself and my poor car. Anyone who was behind me or at the intersection I was bearing down on probably got a scary show, but thankfully they weren't close enough to be part of the action.

Walking around the car, I didn't initially notice any problems.  I took a few deep breaths and decided to get back on the road.  Only then did I notice that I had to keep the steering wheel pulled quite far to the right to get my car to go straight.  Back in the parking lot, I carefully positioned the steering wheel to situate the front tires facing straight ahead.  This time when I got out of my car, I saw that the left rear tire was at an odd angle to the rest of the tires - no wonder the car slowed down.  Getting back in the car I had a moment of self-pity... who could I call, who could help me, I'm all alone in the world, poor me. I have very good natured neighbors who come to my rescue so frequently I am a little concerned they will move out of the area under cover of darkness some time soon. They quickly showed up in the parking lot and looked reassuringly relieved that I was not injured.  Mr. Neighbor gave the car a quick looking over and proclaimed that the damage was likely not as bad as it looked. Mrs. Neighbor offered all kinds of help and moral support. When it became clear that I would have to have to car towed I sent them on their way with Mrs. Neighbor's offer to pick me up at the service station when the tow truck dropped me off.  Thank goodness for good neighbors who are also friends.

 Now it's Wednesday. I've turned the rental car back in and am anticipating having my little car back from the repair shop sometime tomorrow.  The repairs cost just under my insurance deductible.The week is looking a little better than it did at it's start. 


  1. Wow. Been there, done that, and have felt everlastingly grateful that nobody else was in my way!
    What a thrill ride, huh?

    I'm glad that your car's back in working order so soon.

  2. You were very lucky there. Me too, been there, done that. Black ice is the devil. I hit my patch going downhill; luckily I literally was the only car on he road.

    Stay safe and drive carefully.