Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, November 25, 2013

Driving Distracted

Drive with caution.
We country kids learned how to drive on gravel roads.
Now, I should point out here that travel on gravel roads can be rather treacherous.
Especially when the gravel is deep and loose and hasn’t been graded (scraped into an even surface) in a while.
Usually, on our sparsely-gravelled roads, this wasn’t a problem.
Occasionally, it was . . .
At those times, if one stepped on the gas pedal a bit too eagerly, the back-end of the vehicle could begin to fish-tail (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like) and one could easily lose control.
Particularly if one was not very experienced.
Usually at times like this, the ditch is the inevitable final destination.
Best-case scenario: the vehicle simply leaves the road and travels, more-or-less in a straight line, into the ditch.
Worst-case scenario: Lives are at risk as the vehicle turns over.
Most gravel-road stories landed (pun intended) somewhere between these two developments.
I had heard of some of the worst of the worst.
Had actually witnessed a roll-over when a bunch of us kids were on our way home from a day out at Writing-On-Stone Park. (Fortunately no one was seriously injured.)
And I had been intimately involved in one of the best.
FYI, there’s nothing ‘best’ about it . . .
It was late.
My friend, Debbie and I were on our way home from an activity, closely followed by two friends in a pick-up truck.
Male friends.
Cute male friends.
I was driving.
And distracted.
We were travelling at speeds a little beyond what I normally drove.
Because I was showing off. (See above - ie. distracted.)
My little red car started to fish-tail.
Instantly, I was remembering the one and only roll-over I had witnessed just a few months previously.
I decided the only way to avoid that particular scenario was to head straight for the ditch.
Which I did.
Straight in. Keeping all four wheels on the ground.
And straight into an approach.
Wham!
We stopped, dead.
Our friends pulled up in a cloud of dust and dove out of their truck.
“Are you all right?” one of them shouted.
My friend, Debbie got out. “We’re fine,” she said, sounding a bit shook up and more than a little disgusted.
It was my first and, to date, only accident.
All I could think of was how angry my parents would be.
I burst into really unattractive tears.
And sobbed like a two-year-old.
For about ten minutes.
After making sure I really was all right, our two intrepid and very attractive young men climbed back into their truck.
And sat there in uncomfortable silence.
The car was fine.
A couple of dents.
My friend, Debbie and I were fine.
A couple of bruises.
The biggest injury of the evening was to my attract-ability.
These were farm boys.
Used to farm girls.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, farm girls cry.
But let’s face it, a stoic tear sliding attractively down a smooth, unblemished cheek is a far cry from someone sobbing their heart out with swollen eyes, dripping nose and blotchy face.
And without even being injured.
Yep. Any possible connection with either of those boys was instantly severed.
So . . . my point?
If you are driving on gravel roads, be cautious.
Your vehicle and/or your hide might not be the only things injured . . .

16 comments:

  1. But oh the temptation to show off a bit...especially with cute guys around.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Strangely, the pain of wounded pride can last longer than physical hurt or a crumpled fender ... p.s. I cry like that, too - we're in a large club, if that's any comfort :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was involved in one rollover. College days and being out with friends doing stupid things. My friend took the off-ramp a little too fast; we skidded on the icy approach and off the edge. We rolled completely over in a massive bank of soft snow, skidded away, and simply drove back to the access and tried the curve again, only more slowly. We hardly spilled our drinks...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've had a couple close calls, but never mind that.
    Those boys were too dim to realise that, comforting a young distraught lady gets you the most bonus points. EVER.
    Just dim, dim, dim.
    I'm sure they went on to own very fine tractors, and that's about all they have to be proud of. Silly buggers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! You're so right! Where were guys like you when I was driving my car into the ditch?! :) Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete
  5. Another great story from your life experiences I always enjoy them.
    Have a wonderful Thanks giving and blessings to you all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you LeAnn! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as well! :)

      Delete
  6. I've been in more accidents than I care to remember and they really shook me up. I was never the driver--always the passenger. I'm convinced I brought drivers bad luck when I was in high school!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm . . . or were you the distraction?! :)

      Delete
  7. Those gravel roads can reach up and bite you, for sure. Gravel + deer on the road= major problems.
    So far, the only gravel encounter I've had was with a bicycle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yikes! How to make a dicey situation just a bit dicier!

      Delete
  8. Motor bikes can fishtail too, especially in the rain. Luckily I was off road and not speeding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can say is Yikes! And . . . glad you're okay! :)

      Delete

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