This story is based on an event that happened to me last weekend. I was at a writer's retreat near Mackinac (that's pronounced Mack-in-awe. blame the French) and on my way home the roads got worse than I expected.
I was driving on apparently bald tires along a divided freeway, trees on either side, snow and ice all over the roads. The plows were doing what they could to keep the roads clear, but it wasn't enough. I was going about 10 miles an hour under the speed limit and thought I was doing fine when I hit a patch of ice under the snow and felt the front tires lose traction. A little scary. Braking won't help unless I can do it slowly, but before I had a chance, the trees on either side gave way. Suddenly there was a huge gust of wind that pushed my car to the side. THAT'S when the tires gained a moment of traction, at just the wrong time. It pulled my car even further off course before hitting more ice, and suddenly I was cursing and heading straight for the snow bank in the opposite lane (the left). I don't really remember what was next. It was fast. I hit it, and spun. I ended up buried in about 4 feet of snow and couldn't even open the car door. The divider was very wide; as I stated before, it was covered in trees just before (and after) where I hit it. It sloped at a rather steep angle (about 30 degrees) to the center, which was a good 100 or so feet behind my car (my car stopped so that my front was facing the road I had been driving on). Thankfully, the snow kept me from going too far. I called 911, called a wrecker, and waited in the cold while letting the adrenaline tire me out. After an hour and a half, I was being pulled out of the snow by a winch. Unfortunately, the car wasn't turning the direction the operator thought it would, and soon I was being pulled alongside the road but still on a 30 degree incline. To be honest, THAT was much scarier than the accident. The cop and mechanic were both worried I would roll back into the ditch. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. I then drove at about half the speed limit the rest of the 300 miles home... with two broken struts and a lot of squeaking.
So, to recap. I could have died by 1) crashing into another car on my side of the road, 2) crashing into a car on the other side of the road, 3) flipping over into the ditch, 4) hitting a tree, 5) rolling down the ditch during the rescue, 6) having the accident at night and freezing because no one could find me.
I'm fine. The car is fine (now...). Adelaide will get to grow up with a father. I'll be much more careful on snowy roads from now on. And you all got a little story out of it.