Anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE DRIVING. It scares me bad and I fear it will end my life one day. Add snow to it and I hate it more. Last Wednesday didn't help this fear of mine one bit.
Snow packed neighborhood roads + A rushing mom on autopilot = Expensive life lessons
Thankfully, I was in the car alone and I'm fine. I wasn't going fast enough to get hurt. Just too fast for snowy roads. Usually the snow here melts after a day. It had been colder and the snow had been around for a few days. I was getting more and more comfortable with it. I was rushing to pick Elizabeth up from dance and totally in my own world (NOT on my cell phone, didn't even have it in the car -- wish I had!) I was thinking about a friend in need and next thing I knew I was fishtailing. I did not know what to do -- all the advice I'd ever been given about how to drive in snow immediately left my head. I had the thought, "What would Nate do? Nate would know how to handle this." I overcorrected three different times and realized too late that I was going to hit a parked black 4-Runner. My thoughts were "Nate would definitely not have gotten himself in a position to hit this car. I hope the air bag doesn't come out, cuz that hurts. I'm glad none of the kids are in here. This is going to be expensive." You'd think with enough time to think all those things I could have not hit the car, but time is a funny thing in those situations. It goes so slow, but so fast at the same time.
So a nice, older European man stopped to see if I was alright, and ended up giving me a short ride up the street to my house. I called Julie (Elizabeth's dance teacher, my dear friend). She came over and was awesome to help me figure everything out. My neighbor, Joanna, was really helpful too. She took Harrison to school for me and then took Elizabeth to her house for lunch and playing. I got everything squared away with Geico -- left a detailed apology note on the 4-Runner with the claim number so his car would get taken care of (he was gone at work all day). Side note, this poor guy had his car totaled in his driveway four years ago by a teenager running from the cops. Who is unlucky enough to have two cars wrecked while parked in front of their house? Don't worry his car is not that bad this time -- he hasn't had it fixed yet, so I get to drive by it several times a day and feel awful that I did this.
Anyway, the tow truck came and we got a rental car. The first estimate was $6, 300 but they hadn't taken a good look at the engine yet. Thankfully our deductible is only $500. Our premium will likely go up. But thank goodness for insurance, right? We hit a deer in Utah last Christmas and have been so grateful in both cases for deductibles, rental car coverage, etc.
So the lessons are:
1. DRIVE SLOWLY IN THE SNOW -- no matter how used to it you are, no matter what kind of car you have and not matter how many wheel drive you have
2. Buckle your kids up even on the little neighborhood roads -- in snowy areas ESPECIALLY on the little neighborhood roads. Our famous line is, "Hurry up and get buckled, we're almost on the big road." Well, here the big roads are safer because they get plowed.
Confession: On the way to dance, Elizabeth was having trouble with her buckle and I told her not to worry about it because we were just going around the corner to Julie's. I don't think she would have been seriously hurt if she had been in the car unbuckled when I got in the wreck, but she definitely would have been thrown around and traumatized. I'm so glad none of the kids were in the car. It would have made it even more stressful. So now I'm that mom who won't leave the driveway until all the kids are buckled.
The next day as I was driving through the snow very slowly in the Civic, "Jesus Take the Wheel" came on the radio. This song has always felt a little trite to me, and I feel a little sac religious when I say this, but the story of the song was very close to home and I thought, "Man, I should have tried that!" Even though I didn't think fast enough to go for that option, I really do feel like we were blessed because it could have been so much worse. It's just an expensive, annoying lesson, but I got it! Hopefully it can save someone else from having to learn the hard way!