On Facebook, many of my friends have done the daily “What I’m Thankful For” thing, where every day, they’d post something they were thankful for.
Today, I’m thankful for a few things.
…for my Suburban.
…for working brakes.
…that we didn’t get into a horrible accident.
…that we’re okay.
Yes, there is a story behind this.
So the boys had an appointment to get their braces on at 9:30 this morning. Great! Maura needs to produce a urine sample at some point today. Wonderful! Josh had to be picked up from the airport at 9 am. Goody! And it’s snowing. Lovely!
I decided to let Maura have the day off from school, then dropped the boys off at the orthodontists as they got the stuff on, and Maura and I left to get Josh from the airport. It was snowing, the receptionist said “Drive safe.”
I kind of shrugged it off because the roads were pretty darn clear, I have a big Suburban that does great in snow, and I’m pretty experienced in driving in this kind of weather. I will say…all that experience paid off. Hat’s off to you, high school driver’s ed teacher that forced us onto the snowy driver’s range and forced us to drive in three inches of snow that one day.
So I leave the boys to get their braces on, and drive off to pick Josh up at the airport. I’m not speeding, but the roads were clear, everything looked fine, so I’m not on full alert despite the snow falling. I take US 23 to I-94 ….this is an on ramp that goes into another merging lane before it all merges into three lanes of traffic. That merging lane probably saved our lives.
I must have hit black ice while on the ramp, because one moment I’m driving just fine. The next moment, my whole vehicle is sliding to the right. Like almost going sideways, the slide is so bad. I remember thinking “Steer with it, not against it.” It corrected, but then I start going the other way! Next thing I know, I’m going down the small embankment of grass that separated the ramp I was on from the other merging lane. I could feel the car tilting, and I’m steering and braking for my life while saying stuff like “Oh shit! Oh shit!” as I was CERTAIN we were about to roll over, and braced for that. Instead I spun 360 degrees, which is when I realized we were about to hit road again.
That’s when I started saying “Oh God!” Because we were going to go into traffic. And I knew if we ended up sliding into the highway, we were in BIG trouble. We slid across the merge lane and stopped, facing the right direction, on the little median strip between the merge lane and the three lanes of traffic. I looked around at the cars going by me. One woman drove by with a look of sheer horror on her face that probably reflected my own. She must have been in the merging lane and watched me slide across the road in front of her.
I couldn’t believe we stopped unharmed. The engine at some point had cut out, so I restarted the engine, backed up slightly so we were more safely in the median, put it in park, put on the hazards and checked on Maura, who was worried until I started laughing ( that’s how I reacted to stress like this – I bust out laughing. ) Maura then laughed too. I waited a minute, mainly because I wasn’t sure what to do. Part of me was impressed with the massive grooves the truck put in the grassy embankment. No one stopped to ask me anything (I sort of expected a police car to magically appear). I toyed with the idea of letting myself get really upset by what had just happened, but it wasn’t really a great spot on the road to have hysterics. Finally I put the car back in drive and started driving again towards the airport.
I told myself if I remained calm now, once I got to the airport and got Josh, I could freak out. And so I did. I remained calm, even called Josh to find out where he was (later he said “This happened after you called me?” I told him that it wouldn’t have done any good if I called him hysterical.) Of course when I pulled up at the airport, put the car in park and burst into tears, he was a bit surprised. I told him what happened, he asked if we were okay, if the car was okay, then complimented my awesome driving abilities.
Meanwhile, I’m still stunned by it all. I can’t believe we didn’t roll over. I can’t believe we scooted through one lane of traffic and didn’t get hit. I can’t believe the truck stopped in the last possible safe place and that we didn’t go into the three lanes of traffic. Midway into it, I expected to hear the sound of glass breaking and metal crunching. I was expecting to be hit. I braced myself for it. That all of that didn’t come true, well, Someone was definitely looking out for us.