So. Yesterday on Twitter, I mentioned that my car slid right out into a busy intersection and that I was lucky I didn’t get t-boned.
I thought I’d use some satellite imagery to illustrate exactly what happened.
Here’s where I live:
Nice little neighborhood, am I right? Lots of green, leafy things.
The ‘A’ indicates my house, thank you Google. It is situated on the corner of a cul-de-sac on the top of a hill.
Now, let’s take a look at that same picture only adding some simulated snow so you can see road conditions at the time:
As you can see, all the roads throughout the neighborhood have not been plowed. Never actually get plowed. They rely on the sun to melt em and there hasn’t been much of that since the snow hit last thursday and friday. SO, the roads stay pretty bad.
My car is a Camaro. Camaro’s are sports cars. They are not designed for bad weather / road conditions, yet I have resisted getting another / different car because my Camaro has been a really good car nine or ten months out of the year.
With the roads bad, my first hurdle was making it down the hill without crashing into anything:
My car did okay til I got to the bottom of the hill, then is slid for a bit. I’d anticipated this, though, and really I slid to the stop sign. Whew!
Second hurdle, is the stop sign onto the wider road:
A little sliding here, but not too bad.
Now, to get out onto the main street, which is all nice and clean, having been plowed multiple times, I must turn left AND proceed UP A HILL. Not a major incline, but a hill nonetheless, and covered in hard packed snow and ice:
This is where I hit some troubles.
- I kept sliding left and right
- I was having trouble getting any sort of traction
- I was fighting my way uphill
- Braking wasn’t much of a help or an option cuz i would kill my momentum
I crested the hill maybe 25 feet from the intersection, my car jumped forward now that it had a little traction. Sadly, this is also the moment when I know I have to brake, killing my forward momentum and possibly losing any traction I had.
If you drive in snow, you know that you don’t mash down on the brake. I didn’t mash down until I realized I was sliding not stopping, and the intersection was looming before me.
Now, let me tell you a little something about this road.
See how the road curves in the pic below?
Okay – heading down that curve, you’re in a 40 MPH zone – that’s 40 miles per hour. heading in the opposite direction, you hit a school zone where they have signs up that say you’re in a 20 MPH zone or 20 miles per hour.
Actual Speed Of Cars Traveling in either direction:
100 BILLION MILES PER HOUR!!
…I know you think I’m exaggerating, but really, I’m not. They fly down this road. Cops sit in the school zone picking off speeders like ducks in a barrel and THEY STILL SPEED LIKE CRAZY!!!
So. As my car is sliding towards this intersection, I can’t see around the curve – there’s a fence that runs right up to the corner. I have no ideas if there are cars speeding towards me or not. Worse, there is an SUV sitting in the turn lane to turn left, blocking my view of the curve even more.
Yes, at this point, I’m mashing for all I’m worth, hand drifting towards the emergency brake (like that’ll do any good!).
As the front of my car slid out past the lines and into the intersection, I started turning right, I leaned forward, trying to see past the SUV. I saw no cars coming so I took my foot off the brake and gave it some gas, completing my turn.
I had no time to breathe, though, as cars came whipping around the curve so I pushed it up to the speed limit and moved forward. Behind me, cars raced to switch lanes and book on down the road.
So, that is my story – that is what happened. I consider myself to be quite lucky I didn’t get hit. It will be an interesting commute this week while I wait for the temp to rise and the snow to melt.
When you’re sliding, mashing on the brake does you no good whatsoever. You’re much better off pumping the brake pedal. If you’re on ice, just tap it.
Due to conservation of momentum, you can literally end up going faster if you lock your tires, and you’ll have better directional control if you’re rolling instead of skidding. Since a frictionless surface exists only in math or physics homework, you’ll get stopped sooner or later. 🙂
(The things you learn, going to an engineering college in upper Michigan, and not in class either!)
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