Safety Contest 2nd Place Winner
This story won second place in our Safety Story Contest. It concerns the danger of ice hidden under snow covered roads. The author has chosen to stay anonymous, but I wish to thank him and his wife for sharing what happened to them.
In 2013, my wife and I were driving to Crested Butte to ski with friends and then to Breckenridge to ski with my cousin and her husband. We decided to drive on highway 50 as that was the shortest route although a slower road than I-80. I drove most of the way since I had way more experience driving in snowy conditions. Some of the conditions we encountered were pretty bad but the majority were OK. When we stopped for lunch, I asked my wife to drive as the road was perfectly dry and we were at a lower altitude so I didn't expect any more bad conditions. Everything was fine until we hit the last grade on the road. There was an inch or two of snow -- no big deal -- or so I thought. Underneath the layer of snow was ice and the car started to skid out of control. The car skidded off the road and slowly continued to approach a drop-off. The car didn't stop and went over the drop-off at about 5 mph. Fortunately, the drop-off was only about 18 inches. Unfortunately, it went over at an angle and the car fell on the passenger side. Once the car hit on its side, the driver's side window blew inward, raining glass shards on both of us. When my wife released her seatbelt to escape out the window, she wound up falling on top of me. Eventually, we escaped the car and walked to the road. Luckily, neither of us were injured. Within 10 minutes, a couple picked us up (he turned out to be a ski patrolman at Mammoth and was heading to Utah to ski) and drove us to a hotel in the nearest town, Delta, Utah, 60 miles eastward. On the way, we saw the sheriff and reported the accident. At 10 PM, a tow truck showed up at our hotel with our destroyed car. We took all our possessions out of the car. The next day, the person at the front desk loaned us her car so we could drive to Provo, Utah, 90 miles away, to rent a car so we could continue our trip, which turned out to be fun and without any more incidents. The safety lessons we learned are: Just because there is a little snow on the road doesn't mean there isn't ice underneath. And more importantly, knowing how to handle your vehicle in an emergency situation is paramount!
Your Safety Administrator has added the following web address, which includes 5 ways to get out of a skid, depending on your type of vehicle. It may not work as a link, but can be copied and pasted.