Here is the “Rest of the Story” with a few added spins and twists in this tale. In case you missed the beginning, here is a link to Highway Miscue.
As the story ended, we were reading . . .
My road-weary eyes spotted a tow truck along the interstate highway, and then I could see another vehicle buried in the median’s deep snow. Beginning to brake and slow down my speed, my curiosity was taking over.
The tow truck driver was digging around the car in an effort to create a clear path to pull it out to safety. You ask, where was the driver of the buried car?
Standing off to the side and watching (more like supervising) was a highway patrol trooper. His marooned patrol car was buried in the deep snow, unable to move out and needing a tow. The look on the trooper’s face was one never to forget . . . not too happy and certainly feeling embarrassed!
As I drove the final couple of miles to Missoula, my mind was filled with all of the stories and teasing the trooper would likely have to endure about his thrilling drive along Interstate 90.
But wait . . .
As American radio commentator Paul Harvey used to say, here is the rest of the story!
Let’s back up the story just a bit. Here is a significant, missing piece left out before I witnessed the highway patrol trooper stuck in the snow.
Upon reaching Interstate 90, less than an hour of driving time remained before reaching my final destination of Missoula. The highway from Lincoln had been remarkably clear of snow so I was driving at about the speed limit. I was feeling confident about the rest of the trip, and looking forward to reaching my destination safely.
A word of warning should have been lighting up inside of my brain. Overconfidence when driving in the wintertime is never a sound approach to traveling on snow-covered or icy roads. A surprise can lurk ahead on the road, hidden from view just over the next hill or around the approaching curve. A driver must stay alert!
Driving up a hill, the highway surface began to gather more snow. Obviously, the snowplow was missing in action on this stretch of road.
Traffic slowed and became a bit more crowded as I prepared to pass a slow-moving tractor-trailer truck, which was hauling a heavy load. Even with my reduced speed, I felt comfortable in passing the lumbering truck despite the snow-covered road surface.
Oh, I didn’t mention the type of car I was driving . . . an older model Ford Crown Victoria with rear-wheel drive. I usually drove a front-wheel car, but not this time around. Front-wheel drive vehicles handle much better on winter road conditions than rear-wheel ones.
As I began to pass the truck, I carefully steered the car into the left lane. My speed was comfortably under the speed limit. Suddenly, the rear of the car began to move to the left. I was losing control of the car at a critical moment. The car continued to spin around until it ended up in the median filled with fresh snow.
Guess who was stuck in the snow now?
I have reflected back on this scenario more than a few times over the years. God was certainly with me for this much too thrilling ride. Perhaps one of His angels intervened to keep me safe from harm.
First, the large truck narrowly missed my car as I spun out of control. Fortunately, the truck stayed in its lane, and my car managed to keep moving to the left towards the snow-filled median.
Secondly, my car completed its 360-degree spin and ended up in the median without a scratch and pointed in the proper direction.
Last of all, a Good Samaritan pulled over near the median. He jumped out of his pick-up truck, hooked up a tow rope to my car, and pulled me out of the snow.
Each aspect of this near-miss accident could have turned into a tragedy with far different conclusions. I sit here today, and I always feel so grateful for God’s help.
As this very true story concludes, I sincerely hope none of you, the readers, will ever experience something like this in your highway travels. I am an experienced winter driver, but it only takes one time to give you a wake-up call.
I am reminded of Scripture from Psalm 91:1-4:
“You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.’ For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from deadly pestilence; He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you fill find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.”