QOTD: Is Yer Truck Stuck, Chuck?
Winter arrived north of the border with a bang this weekend, catching some people and good many municipal snowplows off guard. Stuck and otherwise immobile vehicles littered the roadway like debris at a ticker tape parade.
This frozen wasteland got your author thinking — what’s the stickiest situation in which you’ve ever placed a vehicle?
We should open this question up to any type of stuckness (that’s a word now, folks), given the vast and varied range of residence of our readership; sand, mud, or snow — it’s your choice.
Hailing from a granite rock in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, your author has experienced his fair share of apocalyptic snowfall. It is true that what falls from the sky in some corners of this continent is not to be believed. Whiteout snow, conditions in which drivers cannot see past the end of their vehicle hood, often force a person to feel their way along the edge of a roadway using the tires, trusting in nothing but a good sense of direction and a whole dose of luck.
On one occasion, as you’d expect, my luck ran out. Unable to feel the pavement’s edge with the tires of a then late-model Ford Taurus, the Blue Oval sedan sank off the side of the road into a deep ditch. Absent of roadway, I could feel the car falling in slow motion, as if time was coming to a standstill. The car buried itself to the beltline. The guy in an Impala who was following my taillights whoa’d up in time to avoid the same fate; he gave me a lift into town. Extracting the thing once the storm died down was an experience best forgotten.
Snow to the beltline of a 2004 Taurus SEL — that’s my record. What’s yours?
In college and on vacation in Acapulco....you know where this is going, right? A friend and myself talked two girls for a night of heavy partying. The unspoken assumption was that we would be able to score a touch down. The hotel we were staying had a strict "no outside females" policy. So we headed for -where else? the beach. Found a lonely, completely dark stretch just outside town. So we were, to continue with the gratuitous football analogy, 1 yard from touchdown, when one of the girls noticed that the tide was rising, fast. The vehicle's wheels were already being lapped by the first waves. It was a small miracle that 4 drunk youngsters were able to extricate the RWD vehicle from the rapidly liquefying sand.
It was the winter of 2015 in Atlantic Canada. Anyone else reading that line who lived through it will both remember it and have their PTSD triggered. Winter here didn’t start until the end of January and then for eight weeks, every Wednesday and Sunday (I’m not kidding) we had the mother of all snow storms. In those eight weeks we had 16 feet of snow. (And we didn’t get it nearly as bad as some other places around here.) Apparently that broke an early-60s record. I hope to never experience that again. I was heading back to work after lunch (I live close) and by this point in the eight weeks from hell our dead-end street was one lane. This was a Wednesday and it was snowing like a mad bastard. Just as I was getting to the end of the street a huge gust came and I couldn’t see a thing. I slid off the left side of the road and into deep snow. The funny thing was that if that was summer I’d still have been eight feet from the side of the street. I hiked home to get a shovel. I dug and dug to no avail. After a few minutes half of the neighbourhood showed up (the ones smart enough to stay home) and with two snowblowers and lots of shovels and shoving I was back on the road. Never again. I work from home on snow days now.
A couple winters ago my mother called me, saying that she'd had an accident with her new-to-her 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander and needed me to pick her up. She'd skidded on some black ice and gone off the road and down a relatively steep bank into a field, where the car was now stuck. She and the Outlander were fine, and by the time I got there, a tow truck driver was on scene, trying to figure out if he had enough cable to reach the car. It was then I find out that dear ol' mum forgot to hit the 4WD button and still had it in 2WD when she went off the road. So me being me, I leave her with the tow truck driver and take her keys, put it in LOCK, turn off the TC, put the transmission in Low, and it drives right back up the bank without skipping a beat! Mum was ecstatic and the tow truck driver's jaw nearly hit the ground. I never had the courage to tell mum, but I was only trying to get it closer to the road so the cable would reach. When the front tires hit the slope and it kept going, I just went with the flow of things. To this day I'm honestly amazed it had that kind of capability.
It was around 2005 and I was supplementing my flight instructor income as a courier driver. I was an independent contractor (like Uber and Lyft, but before all that) so I was using my own car, a 2004 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. I was making a delivery up north of I-80 around Hermitage PA. I had dropped off the package and I still, for the life of me, don't know how it happened. I was making a turn, I look down at the radio (no smartphone at this time) or something fell in the car, I don't know. I looked up to see myself slowly going off the side of the road and it was a steep enough drop that the the car listed 10 degrees as it went over. Lucky I went off where I did though, because another 50ft back and the car would have been on its door handles with no chance of getting out. I got out, which wasn't easy. All four wheels were touching the ground, but the right front was in the mud. I was also slightly high-sided (high-centered?) on the shoulder. I tried rocking the car, but the right front was in mud and had no traction. I was stuck. I was going back into the car to get my phone to call AAA when a local in a yellow 4WD Ram stopped " You need help? I don't mind at all". The guy attached a tow strap to the tow hook on the Lancer and I drove forward while he gently pulled me free. I thanked the guy and drove to a coin-op car wash I had passed. For the first mile or so, all I could hear and see was mud hitting the car and flying past my window. I spent 15 minutes and $5 in quarters blasting the mud from that car on a 25 degree day. The right front wheel was completely scratched up from trying to get free, but nothing worse than that. That Mitsu served me well, I put 70k on it in 2.5 years and it was totaled when I was rear ended hard at a traffic light. I wasn't sad to see it go at that point, but I don't hate Mitsubishi's because of that car.