Driving in the winter really isn’t great fun if you living in a state that doesn’t prepare for the dangerous weather conditions in advance. This was the case Saturday evening when I was headed back to the house that my wife, two sons and I had been staying in. The misty rain that had been falling all day suddenly turned the highway into a treacherous black and white path of ice, slush and snow when the temperatures began to dip below freezing.
We were approximately ten miles from our then home, when the rear end of my SUV began to lose traction and we start to slide, and in a construction zone! Bessie’s, the name by which we affectionately call our 2000 Ford Explorer Limited,rear end began to slide towards the construction cones which liter Highway 49 South, outside of Fayetteville, Arkansas. I was able to control the side enough to keep us from hitting the cones, but another patch of ice sent the beast of a vehicle sliding the opposite way towards the median.
I was almost under control in the slide when I felt the weight in the truck shift, and the beginnings of what I could only imagine would have ended up with us rolling the truck had I not reacted the way I did. I purposely slide the truck into the ditch to shift the weight and keep us from rolling side over side into the steep median and possibly the other lane of traffic. Meanwhile, my wife and eldest son were having fits, and understandably so, it was pretty nerve racking. I have to admit, I am pretty thankful for my obsession with drifting and the different methods of drifting as it allowed me to recognize the beginning changes in the center of gravity in the truck and correct it to keep us from “turtling over”.
We ended up in the center of the median, facing the same way we were going. Bessie had stalled out and the kids and wife seemed a bit terrified. What bothered me the most though, was as we were sliding off the road into the median a vehicle passed and didn’t even bother to stop. By the time we came to rest in the median, the rain had turned to snow and no less than eight vehicles (that were directly behind me) passed us and not one person bothered to stop.
Thankfully, my faithful beat-up SUV started back up with a little coaxing and we were able to make it back out of the median and to the house where we were staying. Bessie is beat up pretty good, I’ll need new tires for her rear end at the very least, and I’m beginning to have other issues as well, but my 2000 Ford Explorer Limited with 225k miles on it handled like a champ and my family came out of the incident with nothing more than an adrenaline filled ride.