Dec 22, 2009

Why I hate driving in the snow

I want to start off by saying I will admit...I'm a VERY cautious driver.
I didn't even take my driving test until I was an adult to make sure I was comfortable behind the wheel.
I was very confident in my driving, until I had a horrible accident.
Now, I'm the last person you want to be behind when it snows really hard because here in Alaska, we don't use salt on our roads and we usually get 6-12 inches of ice on our roads under all the snow.
Luckily, we are allowed to have studded tires, but they don't always work very well as I'm about to explain...

Today is the 3 year anniversary of when I flipped and rolled my car on the Glenn Highway on my way to Anchorage from where I used to live in Palmer.

Here in Alaska, we have 3 main highways...yes, HIGHWAYS.
There are no freeways....

I was a manager at a restaurant, and my employer sponsors our hockey team, Alaska Aces. He would give out tickets to anyone that wanted to go.
Because I had the next 2 days off, I decided to head into Anchorage to my boyfriend's (now husband) house to spend the night and go to the game the next day.
The weather wasn't too bad, so when I got off at 1030pm, I decided to go home, pack a bag, gas up and head into town.

As I got on the highway, I got a pretty good pace, turned on some tunes and was cruising away.
There's a town on the way to Anchorage called Eagle River and it's about the halfway mark to Anchorage from Palmer.
There's this huge hill you go up and it's sometimes scary, but I was climbing it when this car got behind me and was riding my back bumper.
He was way too close for comfort.
I sped up some to get some distance from him, but he stayed on my tail. If I would have hit my brakes, he would have hit me. So I switched lanes.
It was only the 2 of us on the highway at the time. Usually late at night during the winter, there's not much traffic which is why I love taking that drive late at night.

Well as I switched lanes, he switched with me, continuing to stay on my back bumper.
I kept looking in my rearview mirror starting to freak out at this point.
Why was this guy riding my ass??!??

I got back into the right hand lane and he continued to follow me.
This went on for 13 effin' miles!!
Finally we got to the point where the army base starts and he backed off.
I was so relieved and started to calm down when he sped up and was on my ass again.
I started to slowly take my foot off the gas to slow down without hitting my brake when he decided to back off.
Only he was too close.

He clipped the back of my car as he sped past me.
I started to slide on the road and was trying to correct myself, but it was too late.
The snow caught my car and I flipped from nose to back ON THE HIGHWAY, then rolled down this small hill on the side of the highway.
I didn't even know I was rolling until my drink that I bought at the gas station hit me in my head.
I rolled at about 3 times, I lost count to be honest with you.

As I stopped and gained my surroundings, I realized I was sideways laying on the driver side.
My car was still running, so I turned on the windshield wipers because I was completely covered in snow, then turned off my car because stupid me thinks it's going to blow up or something.

I tried moving, but was stuck, so I felt around and found my cell phone.
I called 911 and it wouldn't work on my phone!
I was freaking out at this point.
I saw semi's going by, but no one was stopping.
I called my boyfriend and told him to call 911 for me because I was just in a car accident and couldn't call them on my cell phone.
He was freaking out and wouldn't hang up the phone so we were yelling at each other, when I heard a voice.

I looked out my window, and I saw 4 men crawling down the hill...wearing tuxedos!
They were yelling at me through the window asking me if I was alright.
I told them I couldn't move my arm because it was stuck on something. They told me to hang tight, that they were going to help me.

They disappeared for a few minutes, which I started to freak out because I thought they left me.
I started calling for them and they told me to hang on and cover my face.
That's when I felt the car rocking.
They rocked my car back onto all tires, and helped me out of the car.

I looked at them weird or something because they laughed and said they were soldiers from Fort Richardson, and was coming home from a Christmas party.
I felt so horrible because their tuxedos were ruined from being in 3 feet of snow!
They then helped me up onto the highway where I met a trooper that one of their wives had called.

I couldn't stop thanking them enough!
I offered to pay to have the tuxedos fixed and everything, but they assured me they were all right and I wouldn't need to do that.

I never did get their names before they left me with the trooper and an ambulance.
I ended up dislocating my elbow and had some banged up knees, but other than that, I was fine.
As for my car....
This is the only damage:

I lost the driver side turn signal in the front


The driver side mirror was broken except this part that made things closer
 

The brown spot is where I was clipped by the other driver
 

The back side of the driver side mirror
 

Few dents on the passenger side
 

A dent on the top of the roof that was popped out eventually
 

I didn't break any of my windows and no other damage other than to the body.
Not bad for flipping on the highway then rolling 3 times down a hill.
See, this is why I love Toyotas.

I came out extremely lucky.
I had a guardian angel definitely by my side cradling me this happened.

As for the guy, they never caught him.
The only information that I had to give to the police was a dark, maybe black, 2 door sports car.
Still makes me mad when I think about this accident and I didn't get any justice.

So this is why I hate driving in the snow.
I no longer have that car, even though I drove it for 2 years after I had this accident.
Haha. I loved that car!!!

So please, please, please, make sure you're careful and if someone ever messes with you on the highway when it's snowy and icy out, pull over to the nearest building that's open or has lights on and call the police.
Looking back, I should have done that.

Safe driving!
=]

P.S. To the 4 guys and their wives....if one of you read this, email me! I owe you guys some drinks!!!

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