Freezing Rain: That Scary Time When a Sheet of Ice Flew Toward My Car

iciclesThe freezing rain of a few days prior had turned the entire city into skating rink. Old Man Winter must have been really proud with himself as no outdoor surface was immune.

As the city began to thaw out from the storm, my normally calm drive home was punctuated by a moment of terror, as a sheet of ice had dislodged from the roof of an SUV speeding along at 80 kilometres per hour and flew straight up into the air like a pancake being masterfully flipped by its chef.

But what goes up must come down, as the wind carried the SUV roof shaped sheet of ice a little to the north and above my lane of traffic. Gravity then started taking over.
“Oh crap… the sheet of ice is headed this way,” I thought to myself.

I am always impressed by how television and movies are able to depict those moments in life when time stands still and things suddenly go in slow motion. This was one of those moments. As I could see the sheet of ice headed for me and my windshield, so many thoughts flew through my head at lightning speed:

“Oh crap, what do I do now?”
“Crap… this isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“No wonder I’m not a fan of winter.”
“This isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“I’ve still got a million stories to write. This would be tragic.”
“Why don’t drivers take better care in cleaning off their cars?”
“This isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“Damn, who will feed the cat?”
“OK, it’s still coming at me… what do I do now?”
In fact, this whole blog post was written out in my mind in milliseconds.

Intuition kicked in and directed me to try to get the car out of the way. The safest idea seemed to be to scooch over to the right shoulder as much as I could. With an outside temperature of minus 20 degrees, cyclists seemed to have taken the day off from riding into work. The shoulder was about as safe as it could get.

I scooched, but the airborne sheet of ice was still coming at me. Between the size and shape of the sheet of ice, and the variable wind conditions, it really was anybody’s guess where this thing would land.

Again, the random thoughts flew, just like the sheet of ice.

“Lord, I hope this works.”
“This isn’t how I’m supposed to die, is it?”
“I hope the car doesn’t get damaged too badly.”
“I hope the car behind me is ready to scooch the other way if something happens.”
“This would really suck, to happen so close to retirement”
“Jeez, I might never find out what happened to Wes on TV’s ‘How to Get Away with Murder’”

As I rolled along on the shoulder, the sheet of ice got closer, it was still headed for my car, but it was no longer dead centre of the windshield anymore.

I held my breath as the ice was about to hit, knowing it was going to hit the car, but not exactly where. The world was back in real time.

The sheet of ice landed with a resounding thud. The car shook like I had never felt before. “That must have been a heavy one!” I thought.

The sheet of ice made impact with the pillar between the windshield and the driver side window. Upon impact with the pillar, the ice initially broke in half and then shattered away into confetti-like pieces, like Carol Brady’s favourite vase when the Brady boys shouldn’t have been playing ball in the house.

I held my breath again expecting my windshield to suddenly get a bad case of spider veins… but nothing happened. I prayed that my car trajectory stayed the course immediately after the impact. It did! I slowly scooched back into my lane.

Upon arrival home, I had a closer look at the car and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there were no signs of dents or breaks. I’m thinking that the impact with the pillar was probably the best case scenario. My blessings count started skyrocketing. “My gratitude journal will be full tonight!” I gleefully rejoiced.

Yet what surprised me most was that upon arrival home, I seemed to have already shaken off the incident. I wasn’t rattled as I thought I would have been. My mind was calm, I was happy to be home, safe and sound, and I was obviously delighted that something more serious hadn’t occurred, to me or to anyone else.

It blows my mind that in a city like Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, one of the coldest capitals on the planet, where snow and icy winter conditions are a fact of life for four or five months of the year, that drivers don’t take better care in ensuring that their vehicles are completely clear of snow, ice or any other potential hazard.

I get it, people are in a rush to get where they are going, but it only takes a second for an accident to happen due to carelessness. I wish people would give that some thought.

In any case, I am delighted that I was able to bounce back from the “Rogue Ice” incident, about as well as my windshield did.

Did you enjoy this post? If you did, please know that there are plenty more where that came from! If you haven’t already, you can check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.blog. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,
André

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