Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Florida Boys Shouldn't Drive in the Snow

I had been planning to drive up to visit my friend "Nothy Lane" for some time, but "Winter Storm Euclid" made my planned departure date ill-advised, so I delayed until Saturday, December 29 -- just in time to find myself caught in "Winter Storm Freyr".  (For what it's worth, I consider these names "hot air".)  The snow was no problem until about Akron, but by Cleveland the roads were beginning to be seriously icy.  I slowed down to 45 or 50 mph, at any rate just a bit slower than most of the other cars, but just east of Cleveland I began to fishtail before swinging around about 250 degrees and winding up on the (normally grassy) median, facing back towards my lane and slightly into traffic.

Several things went well for me in this.
  • My pickup did not flip over.  I like the visibility of riding higher than in a car, but it does add to the risk of a rollover.
  • No other cars were particularly close to me, so no other vehicles were involved in the accident at all.
  • There was no damage to the truck or injury to me.
  • The accident left me completely off the road, not partly on the road where other cars might hit me. 
I must thank the anonymous local good Samaritans who checked to make sure I was OK and who found and returned my suitcase.  I had not realized that my luggage had been thrown out of my camper shell, but it had popped the locked door of the camper open without difficulty. 

In retrospect it's not that hard to see how this happened.  In the spin, my truck would have probably taken about 2 seconds to make a complete rotation around its center of mass.  The tailgate was probably about 4 meters behind the truck's center of mass, which means the centrifugal (pseudo-) force on the suitcase would have been about 4 times its weight.  I have a tendency to over-pack, so my suitcase probably weighed about 40 lbs.  The resulting 160 lbs of force at the base of the camper shell door was easily enough to pop it open.

Miraculous medal

One last thing.  I was wearing my Miraculous Medal when this happened.  I will make sure to wear it more regularly now -- especially when travelling!

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