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I nearly slipped off this mortal coil on the highway today

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Bubbler, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Bubbler

    Bubbler Active Member

    I had the unenviable task of driving home from a game I covered last night in the middle of whiteout conditions from a snow storm today. Not ideal, but nothing I haven't done before.

    Today, though, was much different.

    Leaving from Peoria, road conditions in Illinois were appalling, partly because the wind and snow was so bad (I think central Illinois got around 7 inches and the wind was gusting up to 30 MPH), but partly because the roads were not adequately dealt with to begin with.

    The concept of clearing on- and off-ramps, for example, seems foreign to the state of Illinois. I ate in Bloomington-Normal, re-entered I-74 from U.S. 51, and nary a plow had touched the on-ramp. It was a random guess as to where the road was. There was also a foot-high snow drift I had to negotiate to get to the interstate itself. It's not as if it wasn't a storm they didn't know was coming either.

    But that's not what nearly killed me.

    I-74 had one passable lane that was "dry" to drive on. Because nearly every vehicle was using it, there was a line, not dissimilar to a racing line, that formed in the road where the wheels of the cars were running. Normally, it would be wet, but because the wind was blowing so hard and because temperatures were dropping, the moisture line froze into a sort of black ice. The lack of any salt on the road didn't help, Indiana had its roads at least partially salted and the difference was immense.

    Anyway, I recognized the ice and steered clear of that lane as much as possible, but there were times when the right lane was so snow-covered it was even more dangerous. So I was just west of Champaign in the "ice lane" when disaster nearly hit.

    I don't know what caused it -- a wind gust (most likely), a slight tap of the gas, a near invisible curve in the road -- but all of the sudden I feel that telltale drift one gets when their car is about to spin. Sure enough, I inched right, before I began to fishtail the other way.

    My car veered to the left as I lost the rear end and soon I was nearly perpendicular to the road headed straight towards the median, which at that point of I-74, had foliage and a drop off from the highway. I mentally prepared for the worst, as even though I was well under the speed limit, I was still going fast enough to do some major damage. I'm certain my car would've flipped had I got to the median because of the dropoff.

    Somehow, I didn't panic and didn't over-correct. As the car spun towards the median, I got lucky and hit a dry patch of road. My wheel was turned to the right and when I hit the dry patch, my car miraculously corrected and headed due straight, almost as if I planned the spin, which I can assure you, I didn't.

    It nearly happened again east of Champaign, but I didn't lose the rear end. It was a harrowing drive that took nearly two hours longer than usual.

    I love what I do, I really wouldn't want to do anything else. But I'm not ready to check out whilst doing it. Hopefully, that's the closest I ever come.
  2. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Glad you're all right, Bubs.
  3. RedCanuck

    RedCanuck Active Member

    Glad you're okay Bubbler.

    I was coming back from covering a game a few years back when I ran into a whiteout very suddenly. I lost track of the edge of the road and swerved at a pretty high speed into the ditch. Everything was fine, but there's a really scary feeling there when you know control is gone.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    There are some utterly nasty roads in that part of Illinois. I'm glad it worked out.
  5. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

    Glad you're OK, bubs, and Illinois is fail with its response to snow on the roads.
  6. Simon_Cowbell

    Simon_Cowbell Active Member

    Bradford, McCoy and, to lesser extent, Tebow all sustain significant injuries in the same season.
  7. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    Uh... what?
  8. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Had similar conditions about 10-12 years ago in New Mexico. It was during El Nino and I had flown down for an interview. Flew into Alburquerque, but had to drive about two hours east to the city where the job was.

    Ended up getting halfway there and the road was closed. Not even sure what town I was in, but it wasn't much more than a hotel, a diner and a gas station.

    I imagine the snow was a bit worse because it was in the middle of the desert and nothing really to stop the wind from blowing it all over the place.

    I was stuck in that little town for about 2-3 days. I actually got offered the job, but didn't take it, mainly because of the distance.
  9. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    I don't travel for games in really bad winter weather. Just not worth it.
  10. imjustagirl

    imjustagirl Active Member

    You can just write that they all tried really hard. [/crossoldthread] :D
  11. zimbabwe

    zimbabwe Active Member

    That's scary, dude.

    Glad you are ok.

    I hydroplaned in a GMC Sonoma about nine years ago. I was doing 85 on Interstate 5. Did a 720, hit the concrete median going pretty damned fast, but somehow, survived without a scratch.

    I'm no rocket surgeon, but I think my luck in that regard owed to the angle of impact. I hit the median bed-first at a 90-degree angle and ended up perfectly positioned on the shoulder, facing with traffic.

    Totalled the whip.
  12. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member

    Sometimes, I do radio gamers. If I'm lucky, the radio guy doesn't even tell me any of the bad stuff so I don't have to choose not to report it.
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