Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Driving in Maine During the Winter Sucks

There is a steep hill on one of the roads in New Gloucester that I take every day. Normally I don’t have an issue with this road...until the other night. It had started to snow a few hours before I left the office to begin my journey home. What a journey it turned out to be.

With the fresh snowfall most of the cars were going slow, especially when we passed an emergency vehicle assisting a driver that had slid off the road. I was going about five mph behind another car when we crested over the top of the hill. The car in front of me put on its brakes and I hit mine. That’s when I started sliding and lost control. When it came down to hitting the car in front of me or going into the ditch, I opted for the latter and I’m glad I did!

The ditch rushed up to greet me and I flattened a sapling before I came to stop. I made several attempts to reverse and extricate myself, but the car was stuck. The volunteer fireman in the emergency vehicle saw me go off the road and called it in. So when I called 911 they already knew of my predicament. The volunteer fireman had to go up and turn around in order to assist me. While I waited for him, I was able to pull forward, but I was on a slant and thought the car was going to roll so I stopped. At one point I opened the door and could only open it around 8 inches before it hit the ground, that’s how much of a slant I was on. I don’t think if it would have done me any good to get out of the car (if I could) because of course I was wearing heels with an open back – very practical footwear for this type of incident.

The firefighter arrived (he looked nothing like Kurt Russel in Backdraft *sigh*) and helped guide me out to where my car was straddling the ditch, but I kept sliding and was getting closer to the river at the base of the hill, which made me severely nervous. He gets a call on his radio that there is another accident and the driver was bleeding from the head. He looked at me and said, “I’m going to have to leave you.” I understood because I wasn’t hurt, just stuck, and a head injury takes priority, but the thought of being abandoned made me panic – just a little bit.

Meanwhile, back in Portland, my husband (nicknamed Bubba) was plotting a rescue mission. He was going to grab steel cable, rope, jumping cables and duck tape…whatever he needed to pull me out of the ditch himself. He was a half hour away, but at least I had back-up.

Before the fireman left to go work on a real accident, he helped me give it one or two more tries and fortunately I was able to get back up on the road. With a wave I was off. My car was driving fine and I took it slow. When I got to the stop sign where I need to turn right onto the road that leads to the turnpike; wouldn’t you know it’s blocked off because of another accident? I had to turn around and take a detour.

It was truly the drive home from Hell, but it could have been a lot worse. You know, like no traffic to witness my situation, no cell signal, a total white out where my white car isn’t visible, banjos playing in the woods...

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