That is about the only good thing I can say about my Thursday night. Leaving the Community College Town in what can charitably be described as whiteout conditions I made it all the way to the first major city before I slid into the guardrail. I managed to bang up the passenger side front quarter-panel and bang up the bumper. Oh well, it was slick and lousy out, and my Uncle owns a car fixing shop. If any one knows me they know I’m not huge on cosmetics so I can deal with a busted looking vehicle. When I passed through Major Western City I really managed to screw up my truck when I got into what I can only guess was black ice.
Just last week I had a discussion with a few friends of mine about how the human brain deals with stress. We we talking about gunfights, I’ve never been in one, but I have been in a couple of vehicle accidents. The phenomenon is called tachypsychia when everything seems to slow down. I experienced it when my truck started to slide out from under me, it seemed like I had gone from driving on a road to driving on a hockey rink.
I felt the rear begin to slide out to the left. I attempted to counter-steer and momentarily regained control. I immediately lost it again. I knew that there was no way I was going to get it back. I looked at the speedometer, 54 mph. I reached over the wheel with my left hand and turned on the emergency flasher. I then used my right hand to turn off the radio and the heater. ( I’m still not sure why I thought the heater would be important.) I checked the wheel one more time noticing that I was now moving pretty much perpendicular to my original direction of travel. Nothing I was going to be able to do about it now so I put my hands in my lap and took a deep zazen breath.
The impact was in damn near the same spot that I managed to hit earlier in the night. I rebounded off of the guardrail and noticed that I had broken the headlight as I recrossed the rumble bars as I went back across the road. The snow on the road had limited my vision to pretty well a cocoon of white. I felt the rear wheels hit the rumble bars on the other side of the interstate and I was hoping that the ditch wasn’t going to provide traction to the wheels or else I was going to roll. Thankfully, it didn’t. I felt the truck shut off as it smashed into the guardrail at the passenger-side taillights. I had come to a stop with all of the dash alarm lights lit and beeping. I turned the key and the truck fired up imediately. I limped it another mile down the road to a truck stop and called the cavalry.
I limped my busted truck about ten miles to a Motel 6. They left the light on for me. The cavalry came in the morning.