I’ve been in five different vehicles in the past six hours. Our mini van, a tow truck, another mini van, a rental car, and our other car.
I’m also home in New York right now. I told you all yesterday that we would be heading up to Canada today to spend time with our relatives and friends for the Christmas holiday, but things took a turn for the worse on our trip…
Before I get into the details of what actually happened, I want to say that only my family and our car were affected in this accident. Gratefully, no one was injured in any way. We’re just pretty shaken up. Also, I do not put blame on anyone for what happened. Accidents occur, and we are lucky that we can learn from them.
Okay, so here’s the story:
My brother, Ben, was driving, mom was in the passenger’s seat, dad and I were in the back. We’re in our mini van in the left lane of the NY Thruway, and there’s just one more lane to the right of us and then a guardrail. It’s about 2 hours into our road trip.
My mom was trying to share a little bit of her food with Ben, but as he was trying to grab the food, he took his eyes off the (straight) road for maybe three seconds TOPS. I remember seeing him struggle to get the food off the napkin since it was stuck. I then looked down for a second and heard my dad say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” I looked up and saw that the left tires were off the road on the ice and our car was a little tilted. Ben tried to straighten out and get back on the road but the car just kept swerving violently back and forth until it finally completely went out of control. I was screaming as our old mini van did a huge 180 degree swing across both lanes all the way to the guardrail.
The path of our van. (The squiggly line is the guardrail).
As my dad said: In these situations, you don’t think, you just react. The only thoughts that surged through all our minds were along the lines of, “This could be it.”
Praise God Almighty— after what was perhaps 6-7 seconds of pure fear, our van ended up on the right shoulder, facing traffic, and we (all wearing seat belts) were completely unharmed. There were no cars right next to us when it happened. No cars behind were going fast enough to hit as us as we swung across the highway. We didn’t flip over the guardrail. We didn’t flip over at all. We didn’t even hit the guardrail.
I was still crying/wailing of shock, but as soon as I came to my senses and realized we were all okay, I calmed down, exhaled hard, and prayed a Hail Mary out loud. Some cars that were behind us had slowed down and passed by when we signaled to them that we were fine. I then saw that one car had pulled over and a young man dressed in his army uniform ran out of the car and came to talk to us. He asked if everyone was alright and told us that he is a paramedic and that his parents were calling for help.
We all got out of the car shaking and hugging each other. My mom was crying of shock as well, and because she felt guilty for offering Ben food while he was driving. I held her close and told her it was okay, it was an accident, and we’ve all learned. We’ll never do that again. Ben also got out of the car saying, “I’m so sorry” to everyone. We also told him we love him and he should not to feel bad. Just thank God for this miracle that we’re alive and well.
The police, fire department, and ambulance all came, and a lane was blocked off for the accident. The car damage doesn’t look all that bad, but the left tires are literally smoked. They’re done. There’s also a small crack in the bumper.
After answering questions and making calls, a tow truck came to load up our now dud of a van.
We hopped into the tow truck and were driven to the auto shop. From there, we were picked up by a guy from Enterprise to get a rental car to drive back home. After getting the rental car, we drove back to the auto shop to transfer all our stuff to the car from the van. Transitioning from a van to a compact car made for a very tight squeeze and a snug trip home. When arrived home (sweet home), my mom, Ben, and I returned the rental car to our local Enterprise.
We’re now at home just trying to rest and take in everything that happened in the last six hours. Extra hugs and prayers were given and said as well. There are a ton of woulda, coulda, shoulda’s that we can ponder, but the bottom line is that God was truly watching over us.
1. It takes a matter of seconds for something bad to happen on the road. Pay attention.
2. Wear your seat belt ALL THE TIME.
3. I love my family so much.
4. We were so incredibly lucky.
5. Life is precious. You never know when your last day will be.
I must add that every single person that helped us today was very compassionate and kind, and we could not be more thankful for their care.
As of right now, we’re not sure if we’ll be going up to Canada this Christmas. It’s a bummer, but we want to just recuperate and be together.
I like exciting trips, but this was WAY too much excitement for my taste. I also know this was a rather dramatic post and many people have gone through much worse, but I promise this is exactly how things went down, and all the emotions are real.
The next time I see an accident on the side of the road that’s slowing down traffic, I’ll say a little prayer. And if I’m frustrated behind someone else who is driving slowly and carefully, I’ll try to remember that it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Be safe and well, everyone. ❤