Happy New Year, I'm alive.

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Yesterday I was driving home from work around 2:00pm. The roads weren't too bad, so I was going right around the speed limit, which is 45mph. As I left Frisco, I came up to the long right hand turn before Lake Dillon. There was snow in the middle of the road, so I followed the clear tire paths made by all the previous cars. I go over a rutted area on the side of the road, and within a split second my car begins to fish tale all over. I swerved out of oncoming traffic, and headed straight towards the very long, steep embankment. I'm sure most people would have tried to swerve again to avoid going down it, but I knew in that millisecond that I was going too fast, and too out of control. If I tried to correct it and failed, I would have rolled down the embankment and been killed. If I had been successful, I probably would have swerved back into oncoming traffic and killed someone else. So I made the scariest decision I've ever made in my life, and nose-dived as straight down it as I could.

I looked down at the bottom in terror; there were trees. The only thing that came into my head: "Trees kill people." As I hit the flat ground below, a massive white wall of snow came over my windshield, and I knew I was going to hit the trees soon. I let my entire body go limp in my seat, except my arms holding my steering wheel hard in the direction I wanted to go. And then I hit. The first thing I remember thinking was "Wow, that didn't hurt nearly as bad as I thought it would." I was in shock, because not only was I alive, I was conscious. I looked up to see a cracked windshield covered in pine tree and snow. I looked out my side window to see this:

I guess you know you're a real photographer when you think to take a picture after going through something like that.

After assessing the surroundings of my vehicle, it really hit me. "Wow, I'm really not hurt, am I?" I looked back up at the road, to see that clearly, none of the passing cars saw me. "How could the person driving in front of me not have seen me, how could there have been no one behind me?" I started asking myself. As I pondered while staring up at the road, trying to make sense of things, two other cars hit the same exact rut. One, a red hatchback, came so close to sliding down the embankment that I winced and got ready for a 2nd impact. Both were able to do complete 360's in the road and save themselves. It was then that cars started noticing me, but I was too far down for them to see me sitting in my car. I reached down to my phone and called 911, the first time I've ever done so in my life.

Two cop cars, an ambulance, and a fire truck showed up shortly, but it took them a bit to get down to me. An EMT opened up my passenger door and sat down in the passenger seat. "Well hello, how are you doing today?" He asked me. I remember thinking what a silly question it was, so I responded by saying "Oh spectacular! You know, just going for a little joy ride." After he asked me the classic "What day is it? Who's the President?" questions, we decided I was fine enough to get out and walk, (more like climb, with a rope), back up the embankment.

They ended up taking me to the hospital for precautionary reasons. I can't say I blame them. I originally told them I didn't need to go, but I couldn't stop complaining about my car. I'm sure they thought the repetitiveness was due to a head injury. HAH! When I got to the hospital a police officer came into my room who clearly woke up on the wrong side of his house, much less his bed. He began telling me how lucky I was that I wasn't killed. "You could have rolled and been killed. If there was a few less inches of snow you could have been killed... yada yada yada." I was very aware, after taking the ride myself, that I could have been killed. He wished me well by giving me a ticket for "Improper Mountain Driving", which I now find hilarious."Well sh*t, so much for my heroic driving skills." I thought to myself.

I have heard a million and one times since it happened that cars can be replaced and people can't. I know that is true, but there's a sentimental value my car had to me. I had so many fun road trips with friends in that car. It (usually) did fantastic in bad weather, and I felt safe in it. It was my moms car before I drove it out here, and I felt like she made a sacrifice to give it to me. This may sound silly, but I loved that car, and often told my friends I did. I would always tell people how distraught I'd be if I got into an accident with it.

This morning my parents called me after the police called them back. They weren't planning on even attempting to pull my car out until tonight. They told my parents my car was around 300 feet down, that's 60 feet short of a football field mind you. They were also impressed at how I was able to keep it upright, (finally, a little credit...) After I hung up with them, a massive wave of emotion came over me, and I couldn't help but cry. It was at that very moment that I realized the decision I made probably saved my life. Nonetheless, I felt extraordinarily guilty and lucky at the same time for how unscathed I am. It terrifies me to think about what would have happened had I tried to save myself and rolled, or hit another car, or had friends with me who I would have traumatized. I have never been so close to death in my entire life.

The lock keychain for my car was lost a day before my accident. Though I did not realize it at the time, I feel like it was God's way of preparing me to say goodbye to my car. It was his way of letting me know that it was meant to be. I have always believed everything happens for a reason, but because I don't think his intentions were to get me a fancy new car, I haven't quite figured the reasoning out yet. But New Year's is about starting fresh, and in my case, getting a new lease on life. I will miss my little trustworthy CR-V, and I almost feel like I let him down. But in the end, I have to remember that it's only a bunch of metal, plastic, and fabric. What I have is my life, and that is all that should matter. And as much as I miss my car, I do not regret my decision to drive down. I can only hope that that decision saved mine, or better yet, someone else's family a whole lot of grief.

Happy New Year's everyone, be thankful you have made it to yet another one!

P.S. I'm considering purchasing a Choo Choo Train. I feel like those would be substantially harder to drive off cliffs. If you know anyone by the name of Thomas in the train industry, give him my digits!

Or if anyone has anything for sale that can be used as a form of transportation, preferably something with four wheels, or legs, let me know. A car, SUV, donkey, I'm not going to be picky... As long as it runs, no pun intended.

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