Seattle Realtor Causes 100 Car Pile-up on I-75.
This was the headline that was flashing before my eyes as I was spinning out of control, across two lanes of traffic, while driving through a classic Michigan blizzard. It was almost 5pm and I was just north of Flint so it was pretty much a sure bet that I was going to hit another car or be hit, thus causing a chain reaction.
How exactly did I get myself in this situation? It started a month ago with a call from my mom who lives alone in the upper part of the lower peninsula. Her niece got a hold of her credit and debit cards (with the pin number) and had gone on a spending spree in the Detroit area.
In order for the charges to be removed Mom would have to press charges against Mallory (I'm changing her name to protect the guilty) in the jurisdiction where the fraud had occurred. I volunteered to go home and help her with this for two reasons. Number one it was just the right thing to do and number two I thought that I could use my 20 years of experience in the power of persuasion to finally convince her that it was time to give up her remote house on the river and move to Seattle where her three daughters live.
So we set out in my Mom's LaSabre on Ash Wednesday at around 2pm. I wanted to leave in the morning but it is impossible to get my mom out of the house before 2pm. The weather wasn't bad but it started snowing about an hour out and by the time we got to Birch Run it was icy and the visibility was getting worse by the minute. With the exception of a few intrepid souls traffic had slowed to about 35-40 mph. I thought that I was doing just fine, slow and steady, when out of the blue the car spun out of control and we slammed into the guard rail facing on coming traffic.
Miraculously we didn't hit another car or get hit. Nobody was injured and since there was a nice cushion of snow the car came out without a scratch. With-in 10 minutes the state police showed up and got us turned around and headed in the right direction. By that time the weather was even worse. As much as I wanted to get off the freeway I was even more afraid of getting stuck on a side street in an unfamiliar area. So with my hands clenched around the steering wheel we soldiered on to Waterford in first gear. Mom said to shift down into PosiTraction which I did only to find out later PosiTraction comes on automatically.
The next day we got up early and made the rounds to the 3 police precincts involved. The blizzard was over but the roads were still slippery when we headed back up north. Seeing other cars in the ditch did nothing to boost my confidence but when we came across a snow plow that was "ass end over tea kettle" in the median I was just about ready to call it quits. My Dad had always told me that I have more guts than brains and I guess he was right because we continued on. About ten miles north of the snow plow debacle the sun came out and the roads dried up making the last part of the trip bearable. Actually, the sun shinning on the snow drifts made the farmlands look as if they had been covered in white satin.
The lesson learned from this story is...actually there are 4 lessons:
- I'm never going back to Michigan in the winter again. Even thought I was born and raised there I'm a west coast wimp now.
- My current car has All Wheel Drive and my next car will have All Wheel Drive. You can have that PosiTraction.
- I have given up trying to get my mom to move to Seattle.
- My hat's off to all of my fellow Realtors and Stagers and for that fact inspectors, photographers, and appraisers who brave these kind of elements 3 months out of every year