When I chanced to read Ginnie’s blog about her accident and subsequent new vehicle, I didn’t think it would get to this. In the Rearview Mirror, I have already posted about three of my own incidents although one was a miss. You’d think that should just about be enough accidents for one lifetime, but I already have two more posts about my driving mishaps or near-mishaps in the can, as they are wont to say, with one more in mind.
Last night, however, I serendipitously stumbled upon some old blogs and then some winter photos, which brought another adventure to mind. Unlike other incidents, no other vehicles were involved this accident, which occurred on an isolated, snowy, sloping rural road on a bitterly cold day. Following is an excerpt of what I more or less posted about six years ago when I was still pretty young to the world of blogging. The photos weren’t included in the blog although I did post them later.
The road bent downward to the right, but Harriet skidded on a course to the left, directly toward the snow-banked side. I remembered: “Turn in the direction of the skid.” I did and promptly found myself careening right toward the opposite snowbank. Once more I turned the wheel in the direction of the skid; once again Harriet responded by swooping — now toward the left bank: the problem being that each swoop (or slalom) became wider and wilder than the previous.
I was in a quandary. Although my foot was already off the gas pedal, Harriet’s speed seemed to be increasing exponentially (although I’m sure that was an illusion perpetrated by the wild, out-of-control careening). Harriet has ABS brakes, but I knew that they wouldn’t deploy in time to keep me on the narrow road when I was perpetually pointed toward one looming embankment or another.
The fourth swoop did Harriet and me in. We did a complete one-eighty, and plunged deeply into what had previously been the right bank but was now the left. By this time, I was no longer trying to compensate by steering; I had surrendered to the fates. Although I never had cause to really fear for my own safety, I knew that Harriet and I would end up in a predicament, and we did.
Being a typical Canadian, I was totally unprepared: no shovel, no rope, no blanket! But I knew that I could walk home in less than a half hour. The significant cold didn’t concern me because, at the very least, I had the wisdom to dress appropriately.
I began to try to free the wheels with the only instrument at my disposal — a windshield scraper. Useless! Soon, three snowmobilers passed by and stopped to help. They couldn’t budge the car, but I begged a lift home, and they were glad to oblige.
It was my maiden voyage on a snowmobile. I hunkered behind the driver who, I must say, was doing his best to take it easy on the old , nervous gaffer scrunched up behind him. Therefore, he was quite concerned when I fell off. I dusted off both myself and the small shred of dignity that I was able to muster and proclaimed myself fit and ready to proceed. He offered one bit of advice: “Lean opposite the tilt.” So, if we were banking left, I should lean left so that I wouldn’t fall off the right … as I had just done in such splendid form.
Permit me to do some snipping and to bring this to a conclusion.
My car was in an embankment, and I had fallen off a snowmobile, but I was still in one piece and not much the worse for wear. After obtaining a shovel and working doggedly for an hour, I was able to free the front wheels: a fruitless effort because, once dug out, the wheels were off the ground. Spinning them until doomsday wouldn’t get me out. We eventually arranged to be towed out of the embankment, and Harriet and I got ourselves home under our own steam. Harriet is fine apart from a few broken pieces of plastic fender, which will, doubtlessly, cost sixty thousand dollars (give or take) to replace.
As it turned out the damage was minimal and probably could probably have been left unrepaired. My dim memory informs me that it cost less than two hundred dollars to fix Harriet up, so that’s what we did.
My original post was entitled Slaloming with Harriet, which is what we named our car — Harriet the Chariot. If one must take up a winter sport, and if it must be the slalom, I do suggest that it be done on skis and not in a vehicle.
I have since driven the same road in winter, but v.e.r.y. c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y.