Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Almost Accident

I mentioned it on facebook, but I thought I would share the fuller story of my incident on I-70 here.

On Monday morning I was driving down to Denver to have my car checked out. The check engine light had been coming on and it was sluggish/sputtering, especially in second gear when the RPM were lower. However, that ended up having nothing to do with the scary experience I had on the road that morning.

I was making good time since the roads were clear and dry. Well, except for that one curve just past the Chief Hosa exit. I entered the curve driving the same way I had been the whole way down. Sure, I was going a little bit over the speed limit but I was not driving recklessly. After all, I have a little person growing inside of me. I'm not that dumb.

That particular curve turns to the right. As I entered it I could tell that it was slippery but I figured my studded snow tires would help give me a little extra grip. They didn't. The back end of my car swung out to the left and I tried to get control of the vehicle as I was headed toward the concrete barrier in the middle of the highway. My whole car was sliding across multiple lanes of traffic. There were other cars near me but somehow I missed them. Before I knew it, I was spinning around in a circle. I don't even know how many times. At that point I realized there was nothing I could do to control the car and I braced myself for an impact that I was sure was coming. I didn't say a word, but my soul cried out a prayer, 'Help!' from somewhere within me. My thoughts were focused on the little girl growing inside me and I pleaded that my seatbelt and airbag would somehow keep her safe when we hit something.

My car was headed backwards toward the shoulder. I had no idea what was behind me, but I held onto the wheel and waited to see where I landed. I felt the back of my car hit the snow bank past the shoulder and I went up and slightly over it. The back end of my car was buried in a few feet of snow and the front end was pointing up a bit. But I was safe. We were safe. I looked to my left. About ten feet away was a huge steel traffic sign. Had I hit that at the speed I was going, it could have split my car. I looked in front of me. Had I somehow gone over the median and the other lanes of traffic, the road drops off into a huge seemingly bottomless valley. I was safe. My car was stuck in a snow bank, but I was safe. I breathed a sigh of relief.

I got my phone out to call Kyle and let him know what happened. I knew that he was driving several miles behind me and I wanted to make sure he knew to stop. Other drivers pulled over to the shoulder to make sure that I was OK and that I had a phone to call for help. I motioned to them that I was OK and they could go on ahead.

I noticed a silver SUV spin out and land in the snow bank about 50 yards to my left. Another vehicle spun out on the road but stopped on the shoulder, so he was able to keep going. I realized just how treacherous that section of road was.

My next phone call was to Planet Hyundai, to let them know that I would not make my appointment and to ask them about getting a tow to their shop. As the phone was connecting me to the service department, something terrifying happened. An out of control green Lincoln Mercury was sliding all over the road in front of me and then it took a direct course barreling straight toward me. I was sitting in my car with nowhere to go and that car was getting closer and closer. I thought it was going to follow the same path I did and end up in my windshield. The poor service tech picked up to answer my call and was greeted with me screaming, "Oh, $h*+, oh, $h*+, oh $h*+!" I remembered thinking, 'If this car does land on top of me, at least I'm on the phone already and I won't have to try to locate it to call for help.'

Thankfully, the car slammed into the side of the snow bank just below me and stopped there, about a foot away from my car. I was shocked to realize I hadn't been hit. I apologized to the person on the phone and explained what had just happened. It was that moment that the tears came. Through my clenched throat, I was able to get the phone number for a towing company from the employee on the other line. I didn't have anything to write with, but the windows were fogged up so I wrote the number with my finger in the window's condensation.

I checked on the couple in the green car to make sure that they were OK and had a phone. Next I called the towing company and they explained that a truck could get there within about 45 minutes. All I could do then was sit and wait. Kyle finally arrived and I made it out of the car. We did a preliminary survey of the situation and it didn't look like there was any damage to the vehicle from what we could tell. We sat in his car until the tow truck came, which was only about ten minutes later. The guy hooked up my vehicle and winched it out of the snow before Kyle could even take pictures of what it looked like when it was stuck. Even though we thought it might be driveable, we weren't sure and it was a pretty precarious place to try and get back on the highway. The tow truck driver hooked up my car and we all drove to the next exit, which, incidentally, is the exit where the buffalo herd is located. They happened to be right near the fence that day! Since the biggest expense was the actual hook up we had the driver take my car the last six miles down the hill to the shop. For another $20, better safe than sorry, right?

Once my car was off the truck Kyle and I checked it out and drove it around the neighborhood. It was fine! No damage! I was amazed. It was still doing the strange check engine light thing and we brought it in to them to check that out.

I am still in awe when I play back the scenario and think of all the things that could have gone so much worse. Kyle joked that maybe I should have hit something so we could have had the car determined totaled since we're trying to find a four-door vehicle instead of mine, anyway. However, who knows what even a minor collision could have done to me and the baby. I am glad that as scary as it was, nothing really happened in the end. I am safe and healthy and my car is perfectly fine. Thank God!

1 comment:

Erin said...

I just got to reading this! God really protected you that day. I remember my own scary experience right before I met you and Kyle at Brian Regan and it sounds similar...without the drop-off bank piece though. I'm glad to hear that everything worked out ok with your car too...although most important that you and baby girl were protected the entire time. Love you!