Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy Just To Be Alive

I would love to be able to thank the Good Samaritan who drove my SUV to the side of the road while I slowly stopped Pennsylvania Turnpike traffic all by myself, just by waving my arms in the late afternoon of Tuesday, March 30, 2010. There were no police or plows to help us out. It all took fewer than ten minutes and then we were off again. If only I could thank him and his girlfriend in their black SUV for saving my life, I would love to. He really risked his life to drive my car to the side of the Turnpike. I admired him so much. He was extremely brave. But I have no idea who he is. Hope he emails me. Here's the context:

Since my last post, I have been thrown off course by the double whammy of a death in the family - my mother was in her 93rd year - and an almost fatal car crash on the day-long drive home from the funeral. We thought it would be a clear day, with a little drizzle in spots, but we ran into wind and saw a few snowflakes.

Most unexpectedly somewhere between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, my Lexus RX350 SUV spun more than 360 degrees and slid to a diagonal stop in the middle lane of the mighty Pennsylvania Turnpike, no less, in a wintry mix just over a week ago. But it stalled and I couldn't start it to get it out of the middle lane immediately. Really the vehicle spanned all three lanes. Imagine my fear of other cars and transport trucks sliding and spinning where mine did and wiping us all out. Luckily, traffic was light. I got out and stopped all traffic, except a couple of trucks (which slowed) while the Good Samaritan drove my car to the side of the highway for me. This was in elevated mountain terrain, more than we knew, and the highway itself was elevated fifty feet. It was snowing like this, but this is not my photo or the spot where it happened:

Courtesy: farm4.static.flickr.com

White-out conditions then began and prevailed until we could reach the next exit over an hour later where we stopped unexpectedly for the night at a Best Western three miles seemingly straight down the mountain in six thick inches of snow. Everyone agreed the snow was a surprise, and nothing had shown up on the weather radar that morning, and we weren't warned of the severe weather until after it had happened. My recently-tuned SUV had only 17,000 miles on it. That area of Pennsylvania doesn't get the weather attention Philadelphia gets, where reporters stand outside six hours before a flake drops! The white-out was even worse than this:

Courtesy: celebratecanada.files.wordpress.com

After escaping completely physically unscathed with the car, I found myself in unexpected need of rest. I feel refreshed now with many new ideas for blog posts. That, at least, is positive. I'm happy just to be alive.

Please be careful when you drive in a "wintry mix" and don't be worried to wave your arms around to stop traffic if you have to. And if you see someone waving their arms, try to help. It could save not just your life, but also prevent a catastrophic pileup on the highway.



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