That Time I Drove My Car Off the Side of a Cliff

6 Mar

Okay…it wasn’t a cliff.

But I did drive my car off the side of the road into the river onto the river bank.

It was a Wednesday night, and I had invited a coworker over to watch The Little Mermaid. It was snowing, and maybe we should have called it off, but we didn’t. Really, I’ve had much worse drives up the canyon even in the short time I’ve lived here.

We stop at a gas station at the mouth of the canyon, and I tell her to park at the top of my driveway, so she wouldn’t get stuck. I completely forgot about the large hill that serves as my halfway point.

We get to my halfway point, and her poor car barely makes it up the hill. I even parked and got out and pushed her the last little bit so she could park. We decided it would be best if she came in my car so that she didn’t get stuck.

We made it to my house just fine, I made popcorn, and we watched our movie. It is always so nice to have people over. She lives as far from work as I do, but in the opposite direction, so even though it was early, we called it a night. We get in my car, and are glad that while it’s still snowing, is isn’t as heavy.

That was when my car slipped off the side of the road and onto the dirt “shoulder”. The roads were very slick, so when I tried to guide my car back onto the pavement, it slipped back down. The only thing I was concerned about at this point, was what was under the snow on that dirt that I wasn’t able to see. I tried to bring my car back up onto the pavement again with more force.

I lost control.

My car veered hard to the left, and across the lane. I hit the breaks, but they didn’t respond. I was about to nose-dive straight into the river, but I was as cool as a cucumber.

I saw my coworker fumbling out of the corner of my eye – she wasn’t wearing her seat belt and was looking for the best way to brace herself. If we were going to plunge into the river, we either needed to jump out of the car, or open the door before we reached it so we didn’t get trapped in the car (the river is low, but the water is cold, and you never know exactly how deep it will be). With my eye on opening my door, I get ready to tell my friend we need to jump, but as I refocus, I realize there is a tree in front of us.

I’ve never been so happy to hit a tree in my life. It was going to stop us from plunging into the river.

And then all of a sudden, my car came to a sudden halt. I hit the tree, we were done.

We looked at each other and couldn’t do anything but laugh. We pondered what to do – no cell service, it’s snowing, and my car won’t reverse – and ended up deciding to walk. Just as we were making this decision, a car comes up around the corner. I jumped back into my car and hit the brights, put on the flashers, and my coworker waved her phone light in the air. I started honking.

They kept going.

So walking it was. We were halfway between my house and where her car was, and decided to go to her car. Not very long after we set out, a truck approached, and we flagged him down. He told us his name, and agreed to take us to her car – he did just get back from church, after all. When we got there, I asked him to remind me of his name.

Adam. You know…like the first man on Earth.

Got it. Not forgetting that one.

We came back down the mountain side, and I went to my good friends house (the one I was living with and dated for a time), and he was kind enough to drive me back up the canyon. We stopped and looked at my car, and he discovered that it was precariously perched on a large boulder, and that I hadn’t hit the tree at all. One of my back tires wasn’t even touching the ground.

Sweetest guy ever. Didn’t even leave my house until about 12:30 in the morning, and still had a 40 minute drive home.

I was okay. My coworker was okay. And my car got fixed for a little over $250. I was very, very lucky. I won’t, however, get back that hour and a half I lost trying to convey to the insurance woman that I live on a mountain, there isn’t cell phone service, and that there are neither cross roads nor an exact address of where my car is stuck.

And it was a winch I needed, not a tow. 

Ever had a close call like that in which you thank your lucky stars you didn’t die? What fears do you joke about with your friends? 

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