January 31, 2005

Not Kabang

I don’t know why I didn’t blog about this last week, but I was almost in the middle of an accident. Maybe it’s because I expect a lot of people were almost in accidents last week. But this week it seems like last week was a bit nutty.

I was on rte 79 on Thursday, nearing a point where an onramp snakes up on the right. There is a little hill and you can’t see the onramp traffic until you get over that hump. It’s OK, though, because you are quite far away when that happens.

When I saw the traffic, I saw it was crawling and I wondered why. I didn’t have long to think about it because suddenly the Mitsubishi Gallant in front of me, a big white boat of a car, was spinning in the road.

I took my foot off the gas, and lightly touched the brake, because by now I could see that he had hit a patch of dirty snow and the road in front of me looked clean. As his car blocked the highway in front of me I wondered if the cars I had passed earlier were still right behind me. I saw an SUV of some kind, but I couldn’t spend the time staring in my rearview.

Now I was approaching the car. There had been significant distance between us, but I was closing. He was switching gears to try to move out of the way of oncoming traffic. I probably could come to a stop before hitting him. Well, if it weren’t for the slippery road.

Then I saw why he’d (unwisely) hit his brakes. A car had hit another car ahead, and they’d both ploughed into a snowbank on the shoulder of the overpass. The two drivers were walking around their cars. On the highway at the convergence of this traffic. If I had been closer to the Gallant, and I’d hit it, it would have become a people plough and I would have squished both of them.

Note to my readers (who, I’m certain, know better): DON’T WALK AROUND OUTSIDE YOUR CAR when you’re in the path of oncoming traffic and the road is slick. Better to get hit inside the car. If you must be outside, get away from the traffic altogether. In this case, there was nowhere to go, they needed to be in their cars.

The Gallant was able to move forward enough to allow me to pass behind it. Rather than contribute to the congestion on the bridge, I drove on just as I saw flashing police lights trying to make it up the traffic-laden onramp.

My children’s bus got into an accident on Friday. Apparently, it happened before the bus picked up any kids. Through no fault of the driver, a car just ploughed into the thing.

So the effect of that last combination of storms definitely extended through the work week.

Posted by James at January 31, 2005 8:48 AM
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Wow. That's some scary stuff. Glad you all are all right. While I miss snow, I don't mis driving in it.

Posted by: briwei at January 31, 2005 10:02 AM

The snow's not nearly as much a problem as the idiots. The only actual accident I've had since I was over 20 involving snow and not involving the idiocy of others was the one at Xenergy in unbelievably extraordinary circumstances. I ought to post about it one of these days.

Unfortunately, idiots are not limited to cold climes.

(By "idiots" I, of course, refer to the phrase "watch out for the idiots" you hear now and again when people are going out to drive in the snow.)

Posted by: James at January 31, 2005 10:57 AM

Or, "it's not you I'm worried about, it's the idiots out there".

Was the accident you are referencing the one involving the icy hill and the lightpost in your Silver Hyundai? That would make a good post.

I'm trying to think of accidents I've had in my adult life. The only one that comes to mind is the one when I was 18 and the guy ran a red light and broadsided me. Other than that, I've been good, knock wood.

Oh, wait. There was the time I tried to go up my impossibly steep driveway in Tyngsborough while it had a thin coat of snow. Someone suggested a running start would be good. The momentum would carry me. They were right. It carried me right off the edge of the driveway and into a snow bank. Took out my front bumper.

Posted by: briwei at January 31, 2005 11:37 AM

Poor James! Sorry you had a scary experience. Those "Oh shit" moments are ones I wish all could avoid, especially those dearest to my heart.

But I am glad to hear you made it through okay and nobody got hurt.

Posted by: Chuck S. at January 31, 2005 11:46 AM

Brian, I don't think I heard about that one. I don't think I've ever seen a more steep driveway than the one in Tyngsboro. That you only had one accident is some kind of testament to your driving.

Posted by: James at January 31, 2005 12:31 PM

Now that you don't live there anymore, Brian, I can say this:

Who was the dope-smoking moron who though that driveway was a good idea? The first time we came over, I thought to myself, well, he's a goner in the first snow storm.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 31, 2005 12:45 PM

I dunno,

The driveways across the street from us are steeper. Not as long maybe but steeper. They've defeinately provided us with lots of free entertainment over the years.

Remember the burned out clutch on the truck. How about the bobcat through the woods, and who can forget the motorboat into the stonne wall.

Brian - your accident was the best ever, if only because you were 18 and dressed like a 80 year old from colonial times!

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at January 31, 2005 1:16 PM

Mayhap I shall blog about it if James doesn't know the tale. I thought it was a widely known tale of my youth. Not only was I dressed as an old colonial man, but an old colonial man who was dying of cancer.

Re: the driveway, I thought the same thing when we were getting ready to move. Not sure what they were thinking.

Posted by: briwei at January 31, 2005 1:41 PM

Well, even on flat land, some people aren't the swiftest.

Recall the flat driveway next door and the jaguar paralyzed on a sheet of ice, the ownder gunning the engine whilst aimed right at the corner of the garage. Recall also the variety of objects placed under the tires for traction (piece of carpet, sheet of plastic, cardboard).

Maybe our neighborhood is a mecca for the criminally stupid.

Posted by: Patti M. at January 31, 2005 2:02 PM

Brian: It was the driveway accident I hadn't heard of. The other one rings a bell. However, it is certainly bloggable!

Patti: Didn't those people consider, say, sand and/or salt? You know -- the stuff they put on the ROADS to make them drivable? You're right. They're dolts.

Posted by: James at January 31, 2005 3:33 PM

The driveway story is awesome.

One night a few years back when the weather was similar to what it is right now (warmish days/cold nights) I heard a highy pitch sound like a car gunning it's engine coming from the direction of the neighbor's house. Now our neighbor's driveway freezes as smooth as a skating rink in these weather conditions so I walked through the house to see what was up.

She had managed to get the car stuck on the ice and was gunning the engine to try and move it. All she was ACTUALLY accomplishing was polishing the ice to a nice slippery finish. This went on for 10 minutes or so until her husband came out to try and push her. He managed to point her approximately in the direction of the garage. I realized as he was doing this that if he managed to get her off the ice she was going to fly into the garage and probably not through the door.

Patti and I watched as they grabbed some paper bags and put them under the tires. Zip bags shoot out the rear of the car. Plastic bags, same thing. Old piece of carpet.

They never thought to try salt (presumably they didn't have any road/driveway salt but I assume they had some Morton's in the Kitchen) or sand, dirt, whatever.

this all took about 30 minutes and was quite enjoyable since we couldn't stand them. My only regret was that they gave up and called a tow truck (seriously). My only regret is that he never got her off the ice 'cause I would have paid to see what happened.

About a week later a shiny new Mercedes SUV was parked in the driveway and the Jag was gone.

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at January 31, 2005 3:55 PM

I almost feel bad for the folks, having to trade in that Jaguar and buy a Mercedes.

Posted by: James at January 31, 2005 4:06 PM

As I recall, the Husband (whom I referred to as the Pool Boy, due to the great age difference) got the Jag--that they barely ever drove--stuck in the snow, and there was some heavy-duty henpecking from the Wife who was in the doorway, screaming something along the lines of "I can do a better job than that, bla bla bla..."

Of course, she did nothing of the sort. All either of them did was heat the snow, through the friction of the spinning tires, so that it became finely polished ice.

If only she had caught some dirt, we would have seen a) the Pool Boy hit the deck and b) the Jag tear off the side of the garage.


These were the neighbors with the Great Pyrenees they used to leave out all night. It would bark and bark at our bedroom window at 1, 2, 3 in the morning, and they did not care, even though I called them, the Dog Officer, and finally, the police. After them came the nice, quiet British people--they didn't stay long. Who knew a gaggle of rotten brats would move in after that?

Oh, woe is me! Why is it that everyone who has lived there has been insufferable (with the lone exception of the British people)?

Posted by: Patti M. at January 31, 2005 4:12 PM

Are those the kids my kids almost got into a rumble with a few years back? When they were 6 and 8?

Posted by: James at January 31, 2005 4:24 PM

Yes, their new friends who they were haveing a "snowball" fight with even though the only thing in the yard were chunks of ice.

The jag was a piece of crap btw. It rarely was out of the garage in the winter. I think the ice thing was the last straw.

Those were also the people who moved out in the middle of the night (literally) spoiling our plans of seeing them off with a bottle of champagne in the front yard!

Posted by: B.O.B.(bob) at February 1, 2005 8:05 AM

I thought your plans involved them being led away in handcuffs with jackets over their heads...

Posted by: briwei at February 1, 2005 6:32 PM

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