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Wow! That Was Dangerous…

After completing the project in Syracuse, I was directed to travel to Wilmington, Delaware. It was such short notice that no flights were available to Philadelphia, just a 30 minute drive from where I needed to be. I’m such the trooper that even though I’d had less than two hours’ sleep, I volunteered to drive five hours it’d take during good weather. Unbeknownst to me there was a fairly severe snow storm headed my way. That five hours turned into an eleven hour battle with the elements, other cars, and ten ton tractor trailers.

At one point I was attempting to pass a tractor trailer. I couldn’t see that just ahead there was a car on the right that’d spun out and the left front corner was blocking part of the right hand lane. Visibility was around 50 yards at best. I was half the length of my crappy rental car from passing the truck when we both saw the problem. I pushed on the gas as much as I could to make the pass, but I couldn’t gain speed. In fact, I lost traction and actually slowed. The truck driver had no choice but to move into my lane, else he’d have crushed that guy like a bug. I pulled my foot completely off the accelerator and edged as best I could toward the concrete divider. The truck just barely missed smashing me against the divider. White knuckles, baby, and lots of swearing.

I decided the saying was true, “Prudence is the better part of valor,” and slowed to a much more manageable pace. However, that wasn’t a cure-all. Somewhere between Allentown and Philly, just as I was approaching the I476 (?) toll booth, I rounded a corner that put the headlights of all opposite-bound traffic in my face. The streaking of the dog crap wipers made it impossible to see. I got out of the tire ruts I’d been following and the front wheels broke traction, pushing me toward the concrete barrier. All I could do was let off the gas, turn the wheel gradually to the right and hope I didn’t crash. Normally my contract company pre-pays all rentals, but because this was a one-way, Alamo wouldn’t allow it — I had to use my own credit card and get reimbursed. In a split second, I remembered the gal at the car rental desk asking if I wanted extra insurance, “It’s only 9.95 per day.” “That’s okay, my personal insurance will cover it.” “Do you have a deductible?” “Of course. I don’t think my company reimburses extra insurance, though.” Then a movie of the accident ran through my head and I regretted not getting the extra coverage. Fortunately, the tires hit a dry spot and I veered away from the barrier.

Wow, that was dangerous. Next time, I think, I’ll keep my mouth shut. If I can’t get there, I can’t get there.

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Categories: Danger and Risk, Travel, Work
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