Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Black Ice Fright

I may have mentioned before (hands up!) that my father the cop turned artist turned maintenance man turned sand blaster turned cop again, taught me how to drive.

I think I need a refresher.

Sunday evening  the weather turned on us. We got this very odd blast of icy rain.  All went well. It's a feeling of great power turning that little knob from 2WD to 4WD, a sense of security like the pope must feel when that big bullet-proof bullet lowers over his sacrosanct head.  After dropping off the GK's back to the care of their hard working mama following her 12 hr shift, I headed back home her final wish for me ringing in my very non-sacrosanct head . She told me "be careful."

I was, thank goodness, but not enough it seems. The temp had warmed and the ice was gone in my daughters town, leaving roads just wet, so no 4WD needed or so I thought. Coming up the road just about a mile from our house I slid some but didn't put the truck back in 4WD because after all, I was almost home.

Have you ever read those reports about how most accidents happen close to home?

So, almost home safe and  just over the railroad tracks, I headed up a slight incline, and sure enough my back end decided to head the OPPOSITE direction of my front end. At my size, not an attractive sight.  At first I thought just a little more fishtailing, no big deal, but soon the fish became a whale and was heading into a full out water ballet.

"Weeeeeeeeeee", was NOT the word that came out of my gob. Fortunately the west end of the road I was on is rarely traveled  so there was no oncoming traffic. There was however, an oncoming building. A long metal machine shed type.

So as it rushed towards me  I had that little epiphany where you think...I am so dead...followed by the impact and the next thought...hey, cool...I am not dead!

Because I was only going between 20-30 mph (a rarity in itself) and wearing my seat belt,  the impact did very little damage to the truck or me, not even severe enough to release the airbags into my face. The machine shed, however, being older and more fragile, took the brunt of the blow and the dent(s) were much larger.

After realizing I would yet see another black ice Sunday, I took a deep breath and backed up, turning the wheel to go back in the direction I was originally headed. This produced a large rubbing noise. Being just a hundred feet or so from our farm I motored on home anyway.

Assessment was a few dents in the bumper and Keith was able to pull it back off the wheel enough to be able to drive it. Good thing we had vet appointments for the  puppy and cat and don't you know, life must go on no matter how close one gets to meeting her maker (not very close)

Later today  we'll take it in to our local repair fellow and get the full damage report. Since Keith is not one to worry much about superficial things like dented bumbers and spots of rust (see example A;his wife) we won't spend any money making it look good again. Instead we'll just repair any structural damage that might keep it from going in a straight line in the near future.

The buildings owner, also a fellow not so worried about bumps and dents in the elderly was most gracious about my after dark damages to his property. We believe he can be bought off with a few steaks.

So, fellow travelers..be careful out there.


  1. Whoa!!! That's a scary tale-spin! And cautionary as well!

  2. Four wheel drive is for snow, mud, even rocky terrain. It doesn't help at all for ice of anykind.....nothing
    to grip on. Many people think that 4wd helps on ice but here in Colorado
    where we have lots of both snow and ice we have learned better. Glad you
    are alright.

  3. Glad it was just a few bumps. Black ice is treacherous. And I bet a few steaks would make that guy VERY happy!

  4. So glad you came out unscathed. Better that the barn got the dents and not you!

  5. I liken 4WD to hockey helmets. Helpful to a point, but can also instill a false sense of infallibility.

    Glad you are all right! I'm also glad the owner of the shed is so reasonable.

    When i lived in PA, we had lots of black ice during the winter. I was one of those slowpoke drivers if i thought there was any black ice around. Would pull over and let others pass, if it were safe for me to do so. I put on my flashers to give others warning that i was creeping along. Twice, when cars rushed to pass me (both SUVs), they had pretty spectacular wipeouts: one a 720° because 360 wasn't enough, i guess, and the other was on the verge of 360, but his new SUV met with a concrete abutment. Both times the drivers were okay, and in one instance, so was their car.

    the best thing for black ice is crampons, but they don't make those for cars...yet.

  6. I'm glad you're okay! Sliding like that is very scary! I'm glad the damage was nothing that a few steaks can't cure!

  7. We had black ice at +5 temperatures yesterday, and two lorry-driver friends ended up in a ditch with their 15 tonners - almost on top of many other cars. It happens to professionals as well.

  8. It would be an absolute shame if I couldn't read my favorite Midlife Farmwife every other day or so.

    Be careful out there and I'm so glad to hear it was a minor occurrence!

    Kinky Witch Soap

  9. Lady M once drove several hundred miles (without incident) from N Wales down to the South coast (UK), then hit the very last thing possible; an old water butt. No black ice; just tiredness.

  10. I agree the ice storm was a bad one. Being 2 hours away from you we had the same mess to deal with too. I was't driving anywhere but I did slide and fall....chore time, small hill, carrying water buckets...fell on my butt. No damage done to any property...damage to dignity...I'll live to see another day ;-)

    Very happy to hear that you are fine.

  11. Black ice is so dangerous Donna. Metal can be fixed, thankfully you are unhurt.... Take care on the roads.