The Quixotic Pastor

Friday, January 18, 2008

5 Seconds of Sheer Terror

Most folks who drive in the Land of God's Left and Right Hands can count on a very high probability of having two special Michigan driving experiences, hitting a deer or sliding off the road in icy weather.

Let me just say that no animals were harmed in last night's special Michigan driving experience, although a couple of small evergreens will never be the same again.

Late last night, I was driving back home to Saginaw from a meeting in Detroit. As I drove further north on I-75, first it rained, then it sleeted, then it snowed, then it rained some more --many of you know the routine-- and I adjusted my speed accordingly.

The salt trucks had just started their rounds.

I have driven many times in far worse weather/road conditions than what we had last night, successfully arriving home.

But last night, rolling into the gentle curve of the highway ramp
I slid into a skid that I could not steer out of
went into a 360
plunged sideways off the highway ramp onto a snowy, grassy hillside,
wiping out a highway reflector,
narrowly missing the rather substantial guard rail,
bent over a tiny evergreen tree, uprooted another tiny evergreen tree
careened into the shallow ditch, careened out of the shallow ditch
slid along a fence line
finally came to rest amidst the cattails of the shallow ditch
my suv perpendicular to and firmly planted in
at the foot of a somewhat steep embankment
about 250 feet from the beginning spot
of last night's very special Michigan driving adventure.

I honest to God cannot remember at what point in this hair-raising process I removed my foot from the accelerator. I don't remember braking. I don't remember steering.

I just remember things shooting past the windows out of the dark

I know I didn't scream, because I am not a verbal processor.

[Once, when I was water sking, I fell forward ... the boat pulling me along, water being forced into my nasal passages and lungs ... and I finally heard them yelling, "Let go of the rope!"

Oh. Of Course. ... something about this experience reminds me of that experience.]

Several miracles involved here:

One: my suv didn't roll over. And over. And over. Because, if you could see the terrain where I went off the road, you'd wonder how that didn't happen either.

Two: Although it is covered in a thick layer of gray mud, cattail debris, grass and straw, and one tiny little tree limb attached to the running boards, there's no body damage --quite possibly no scratches too. I'm off to the car wash after I get this out of my system.

Three: Once the kind wrecker people got it out of the ditch [this morning, not last night] with the 200+ feet of wench, I drove it home.

Four: I am injury-free, living to laugh about this.

Did I mention this suv is NOT 4 wheel drive? DH, who last night was less than impressed with my survival, not having seen the scene, was really impressed this morning when she saw the tracks, noting that me and my vehicle traversed the very steep embankment without flipping. Only then did DH understand just exactly how harrowing an experience I had had. DH takes the plastic-spring loaded Jesus on my dashboard much more seriously now.

The other thing: I came home in a police cruiser last night. Do you know that, once they invite you into the back seat, you can't get out again until the kind officer lets you out? That was a bit unnerving, especially when the officer and tow truck driver were inspecting the vehicle. Butch thing that I am, I wanted to go down there with them. I tried the door handle --it didn't work. DUH. No window roller-downer either.

One other unnerving thing --police officers punch keys on their dashboard computers while driving.

I expressed my appreciation to the officer for taking me home so far away from his usual beat, and he said, "Oh, it's OK, I can go by Tim Horton's on my way back."

I said, "I thought that was a stereotype." We laughed.

OK. I am going to go wash my car now while the sun is shining.


  • At 7:13 PM , Blogger Crimson Rambler said...

    oh Dona, how scary...comment on the 4WD thing from this part of the world; towing bills for 4WD vehicles are always higher than for 2WD ones; why? Because they get farther off the road before they get stuck, is why.
    I'm glad you're OK. Go with God.

  • At 7:24 AM , Blogger Rainbow Pastor said...

    Whoooo RDQ! Glad to have you still among us!

    (And the SUV too)

    There's one for the prayers of thanksgiving this Sunday.

  • At 4:52 PM , Blogger LutheranChik said...

    I'm glad you came through this with nothing more than your psyche wounded.

    It brought back flashbacks of my own worst winter accident, many years ago, when I slid off the highway...and into the large yard of an auto repair shop in West Nowhere. Somehow I missed hitting any number of parked/junked cars, and wound up stopped fairly near the main entrance of the place. The mechanic (hit "Deliverance" soundtrack) came out of the building with a big grin on his face: "Yer purty lucky." Yes, I was.


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