It’s interesting how life throws things at you and it makes you look at the big picture – how it could be over in an instant.
This past summer, I was a passenger in a car that had close call with somebody who decided they wanted to drive on the opposite side of the road (https://hoohaa.com/?p=10897).
Then it happened this week.
The day started with a lot of snow. But as the day went on, there was clearing and sun. Roads were bare, for the most part. I opted to head to the next town over to run some errands.
On a side note, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a smarter driver – at least in bad weather. I don’t rush. I respect the roads. I know places where, despite how it looks in one spot, could be in bad shape. One such place near me is Meridale Mountain.
At the top of it all is an almost-open field on the one side, with an open field, coming down off a hill, on the opposite side.
What that often leads to is wind and drifts, which means snow on the road.
So on this day, I approached and slowed down to make it through safely. Coming the opposite was a pickup truck (Toyota, I believe) with a cab and all. They took the corner at the top a little too quick and got fish tailing a little – just as I headed toward the vehicle.
Things like this unfold slowly – despite only being a couple of seconds. The person driving was a younger gal, likely no more than early 20s (if that). The look of fear in her eyes was easily seen. I knew she didn’t have control, even though you could tell she was trying her best. I made it past her – and as I did, she lost full control.
I know the feeling of fishtailing. I think we’ve all likely been there. But in trucks, you are higher off the ground and you really need to try and work fast. She looked for a moment like she had it, but then … it was over.
She crossed over lanes and spun, heading over an embankment. She didn’t flip, which is good. And by the time I pulled over and ran back, she was out of the truck and calling somebody. She said she was OK and I went along my way (along with a couple of others who stopped and some snow mobilers).
If I had been 4-5 seconds behind when I went by, the odds are her and I meet a little differently. And with my car, I likely lose that battle and maybe not in a good way.
On my way to work the next day, I saw somebody off the road. I heard of other accidents and such, too. The weather wasn’t good. And, I’m sure, some of these accidents weren’t out of negligence. But I guarantee some of them are. I saw people going by me at speeds way higher than they should be going in nasty winter weather.
Four or five seconds is what separated me from getting by with no issues or having some sort of an accident that could have altered my world.
Slow down. Take your time. Respect the roads. Sometimes things happen that are unavoidable. But you have control over how you drive in bad weather. Remember, it’s not just your life you could hurt or alter by driving like an idiot in bad conditions – there are others. Be smart and be safe.