I was on the way back from the airport, having just picked up Rich and Jil when we were coming over a little hill/overpass and ran into cornmeal (processed corn, maybe for animal feed?) in the highway. It was wet and there was a lot of it, we started to hydroplane. I was in the left lane and we started to drift over into the median, which was wet and was soft ground. Up to this point my driving in snow and ice reflex/instincts had kicked in…”don’t slam on the breaks, keep the wheel steady, when you get to hard ground you’ll gain traction and keep control.” Unfortunately the median was really soft and muddy like, so when we started to get into it, we continued to drift more into the median, right towards a huge light pole. At that point I envisioned us wrapped around it like taffy, so I strongly applied the break and steered the wheel more sharply toward the highway. We gained traction and busted back out into the highway, trying to maintain control, we started to go perpendicular to the highway until we almost did a 180 when we hit the opposite curb and then the guardrail and came to a stop on the on ramp (our wheels were full of mud and corn-mush, so gaining good traction was hard). Thank God there were no other cars around us on the highway, and the cars that were entering the highway on the on-ramp had seen us in time and had stopped. The truck that was carrying the corn was no where to be seen. As we got out of the car other cars began to go through the corn mush too and were fish-tailing badly. Fortunately police were right there and quickly closed the highway down. We all are ok, although I’m having some pretty bad back pain right now.
It’s still hard to believe that we were almost done in by corn meal in the highway, unbelievable. As I’ve been going around getting estimates from mechanics I’ve been looking for surprised reactions when I’d describe what happened. I wasn’t getting them, until finally after retelling the story to one guy I said, “How strange, no?” And he responded, “What? That? No, not here, that kind of stuff happens all the time.” Wow.
Now we are without a car and Tara is 2-3 weeks away from giving birth. We are a bit stressed, to put it mildly. We’re hoping that the insurance company deems the car totaled, if not, it looks like we won’t get any sort of payment for the damage. We don’t have the information for the truck that dropped it’s corn, and it’s their insurance that is supposed to pay out, so ours won’t. If it’s totaled, they will apparently. Also, there is a 24 hour cab service right around the corner from us, so if Tara does go into labor we’ll have an emergency option if there isn’t a vehicle available to us to drive.
Here are the pictures I took with my phone. The highway is already mostly cleaned up at this point in the photos, but you’ll be able to get the picture. After the backhoe picked up all the mushed corn the firemen cleaned the highway down with their hoses. It happened at about 10:40 am. I didn’t get home until about 6:00pm with the tow-truck.