They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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Out Of Control

I Hate Ice

I love winter and I love the challenges of Great Lakes winters, but it is too warm down here too often and we get too much ice. Seven-and-a-half years in the U.P. and we really didn't need 4WD -- just good snow tires.

Tuesday we went from temps near 40°F which melted all the icicles to 29°F by the time I was coming home. Supposed to be 15°F overnight. All told today we had rain, fog, freezing rain, graupel, snow, ice and heavy winds to polish the roads.

You could really see the shine on the road from reflected headlights. 4WD and geared down to D(3) or 2 on the 4-speed automatic transmission. Most people took the freeways at 50-60 mph. Those wind gusts -- I think if I'd been in 2WD I might have lost stability.

Once off the freeway, I could slow down further, but heading towards the lake, it was definitely getting slippier. West of Allendale, M-45 traffic drops off a lot, which doesn't help keep the road clear. At 35-50mph I suddenly felt the Blazer spin to the left and slide right across the other lane and off the road.

The couple of times I've started sliding on icy roads I've usually gotten the wheel turned and straightened it out into a recovery. I managed to get the front wheels lined up the way I was sliding, but the angle was too great and I was off the road. No one around me when it happened. Where I slid off wasn't quite at the corn fields -- which is a good thing. Instead it was a long slide towards a berm, which spun me around as I came to a stop.

But... I quickly realized this wasn't so bad. I hadn't hit anything -- a quick looksee seemed to reveal no damage. So despite the soft ground and snow, I put it into low gear and eased it forward. Yay! Forward progress. Of course, I had to stop before the road and then couldn't move. Dammit. Got my shovel and cleared around the tires. No joy.

Then a pickup truck stopped with strobe light hazard flashers and a gentleman was able to use a tow strap to pull me the eight feet to the shoulder. Freedom. Kept it slow the rest of the way. You know that bit about most accidents happening within seven miles of home? Yeah. Under 3 miles.

Mrs. Dr. Phil had hauled the garbage out to the road, so I towed the recycling bin. Normally I'd back up the driveway afterwards. But I thought it would be better to cross the road and turn around. Except I hit a ridge of ice and felt the Blazer slew to the left. That noise? I was up against the fire sign. And about to fall down into the drainage ditch. Could not get any traction.

So I called home, 250 feet away. Mrs. Dr. Phil came down, but couldn't get any footing to push. So we trudged up the driveway. Best to deal with it in daylight. But a few minutes later there was a knock on the door and Brian from next door had seen the Blazer and offered to haul me out. Success!

So, I've posted the following to my classes -- NOW the weather people are warning about black ice. (grin)

Dr. Phil
Tags: accidents, driving, ice, west michigan, winter

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