Friday, August 22, 2008

Cross Posting

There's lots to talk about and I might not get to it all today. Life is a funny thing and takes odd turns from time to time. The latest turn involves my PT Cruiser, which I really liked a lot, an unplowed highway after ten p.m., slow speed and wretched conditions.

I was on my way home from work on Saturday, March 15. It had been snowing for about 7 hours and I don't think the part of the highway I was on had been plowed in the past few hours. I was following the tracks in the snow, the way you do, and those of you who drive in snow know what I'm talking about. The speed limit there is 100 km (about 60 miles) an hour and I was doing 40 km (maybe 25 mi or so). The road was horrible--greasy and scary to drive on. I crossed the bridge at Bear River, went up the hill on the other side and headed around the curve near the top. There were headlights in my rearview mirror and they weren't in any rush, either. Not with the crap roads.

As I came around the curve, I felt my car pull a little to the left, which happens when you're driving in snow ruts. I didn't care for it, but then it came back under control for a few seconds, then pulled to the left again and took off on a diagonal across the four lanes of highway. Mind you, I wasn't going very fast and there was no oncoming traffic, but I hate that out-of-control sliding. The back end swung right and then left and I tried to steer into the skid, which brought the back end farther left, turning my car first parallel to the ditch and then angling away. I felt the rear wheel on the driver's side drop, and I thought, "Okay, I'm going to end up with my ass in the ditch. Fine." By now, the momentum had mostly bled off and the car was almost stopped. But it wasn't quite done yet. With the rear corner in the fairly deep ditch, the front end decided maybe it was best to just lie down, so my Cruiser very gently (or so it seemed to me) toppled over onto the driver's side and made a small bid to continue onto its roof. The end result was my car in the ditch basically resting its driver's side on the bank of the ditch, and the corner of roof and side on the bottom. As it went over, all I could think was, "Gee, I hope the folks behind me call 9-1-1."

When it stopped, I took off my seatbelt, shut off the car and tried to figure out which was was "up". I've never been in an overturned car before and it's very disorienting. I wrestled myself out from behind the wheel, stood up with my feet in the corner formed by the door and the roof, up to the middle of my shins in water, and looked at the passenger door above me, thinking that it was going to be a challenge to get out of the darn car. When I opened the door, a woman from work was in the ditch, and asking if I was okay. I told her I was fine, passed my backpack that I drag back and forth to work to her, and she tossed it across the car to one of her friends. A man had also stopped and he climbed the bottom of the car to the top corner and they helped hold the door open and gave me a hand to climb out. I had to use the headrest for a foothold, I jumped down into water that was about knee-deep and then S, the woman from work, and I climbed up onto the shoulder of the road.

One of her friends was on a cell-phone, talking to the emergency dispatch, and they waited with me until the ambulance came and the paramedics chased them away. The only thing I was mildly concerned about was that, while we were waiting, and my boots and socks were soaked and I was standing in 6 inches of snow, my feet got really toasty warm, and I remember thinking, "That can't be good." They're fine, though. I think I surprised the paramedics, because when they asked where I was hurt, I said, "I'm really not" and they looked at me as if they thought I'd lost my mind. So they bundled me into the ambulance, checked out my left side because my arm was a little sore, took my blook pressure, which was 130 (he didn't check the lower number), pulse was fine. The RCMP officer who had arrived first, assured me it was clear the accident was not my fault and not to worry, and I ended up getting a ride home from the tow truck driver.

The end result of my "injuries" was bruise on my left hip from the seatbelt when the car rolled and the belt locked. The car was a write-off from the salty, silty ditch water getting into the computer and electrical systems. The actual physical damage was minor. But apparently I got an awesome deal on my Cruiser when I bought it in December. I paid $9200 for it, including tax. I have a $1000 deductible on my insurance policy and even with that taken off, they sent me a cheque for $11,373.50, and I found a 2004 Chevy Aveo with 80,000 km for $7700. Net gain, all around. So I'm waiting for my Aveo to come to me and the dealer to pick up a cheque and take away the aircraft carrier he lent me to drive (it's a Ford Taurus station wagon, about the size of the state of Rhode Island). I'll be glad to have a car of my own again. I've been driving loaners and test vehicles for the past two weeks.

The other new stuff can wait for another entry.