Time: 0620 hours
Scenario: A winding back road in Northern Virginia during the early morning hours in the rain. A low point in the road from a steep decline, coupled with a close proximity to a waterway creates a sudden drop in temperature that initiates a dichotomy of full traction on the road to suddenly being covered in a sheet of ice. The car I had been following had spun out and crashed into an embankment. I attempted to hit my brakes but due to the ice, they had locked up and I began a descent, rapidly gaining speed.
I made the decision to try and navigate around the car as I saw the driver begin to get out. I figured hitting it would result in the driver’s death, likely pinning him between the car and embankment. This put me in the left lane. I then saw headlights coming in the opposite direction. I figured hitting this oncoming car head on would result in certain death for myself and the other driver. I decided to put my car into the left embankment as a means to stop my car and figured it was the best way to survive the crash. I knew there were not trees present at this point in the road. I attempted to hit the enbankment at about a 70 degree angle so as to wedge the car into the ditch which would hopefully stop it. Unfortunately, I hit it at about a 45 degree angle which caused the car to move up the embankment and flip, landing on the hood.
After about what seemed to be about a half of second to realize I was not seriously hurt, I knew I had to escape the wreckage. I released my seat belt which dropped me to the hood of the car. I called to the driver of the other vehicle to help me and was able to kick out the remaining passenger side window to escape. Wearing my leather gloves and coat helped shield me from the glass of the windshield and passenger side window, both which burst upon impact.
Upon leaving the car, a truck came down the road, lost traction due to the ice, and hit a tree head on.
Result: Four cars involved. Two flipped, including my own and the car I thought was oncoming but was actually overturned. One hit a tree head on. Jaws of life utilized to rescue the driver of the second overturned car. Two individuals hospitalized as a result of the other overturned car and car that hit the tree, but no fatalities and it appeared no serious injuries. For me, only an abrasion on each knee.
Aftermath: I likely totaled my car which I just bought five months ago, but I have my life. In two recent posts, 2013 Comes to a Close and Life’s Little Mysteries, I have spoken a lot about being grateful for what you have, not taking things for granted, and letting your friends and family know you love them, because you don’t know when your time is up. I wasn’t kidding…