Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jaguar Sliding On Ice

Jaguar Sliding On Ice

I mentioned a couple of days ago
how well the Jaguar did on snow--but I also mentioned that even 4WD doesn't solve the problem of very slippery surfaces when braking. Yup. I've never had such a short interval between adding a car to my insurance and making a claim, and I hope never to do so again.

I drove down into Horseshoe Bend on the new highway to get the license plates. I took the shortcut on the old highway coming back. Over the two winters that I have lived here, the old highway has sometimes been thick with snow, but it has not usually been icy, in my experience. About a mile out of town, I noticed that the road surface was no longer snowy--but looked like it was just a thin layer of snow on asphalt. It wasn't. It was 60 feet of ice so slippery that I could barely stand on it. Not surprisingly, I lost control.

It is the weirdest feeling to be sliding on ice. I wasn't going all that fast--but you may recall from physics class how little braking you get on a nearly frictionless surface that even at low speed (about 20, at most), you simply don't stop! I banged into the hillside, the Jaguar spun around, and was thoroughly stuck.

I didn't feel quite so stupid when AAA told me that it would be two hours at least for a tow, because everyone else was out sliding into ditches, into snowbanks, etc.

Anyway, Treasure Valley Collision has the Jaguar now. The damage is almost entirely to the front end, and not terribly severe. They expect to have it back to me before Christmas. Studded tires--maybe worth seriously considering.

UPDATE: A reader tells me:
It's 35 years ago now, but I still remember it like yesterday as I have never been so helpless behind the wheel as I was that night. I had taken a left turn and hit black ice on the new road. I suddenly starting spinnng, 3, perhaps 4, and 1/2 spins and ended up facing from whence I came and in the proper lane for that direction. I took the hint and went on back home, thankful both for not ending up in the ditch and that there was no oncoming traffic.
In my case, the spin was prevented by a mountainside. The adjuster tells me that there is about $5000 worth of damage--and the chances of having it back by Christmas are small.

The body shop and the adjuster went over the car very carefully. All four wheels are badly scratched, first as the right side scraped against the mountainside, then after pivoting completely around, the left side did likewise. There are dozens of little scrapes, dents, and nicks on not only the sides, but even on the rear trunk lid--and the adjuster was sure that this was caused by the accident, and wasn't a pre-existing condition, because there was dirt on the dent.

I am very disappointed that I didn't go up the new highway yesterday morning. The only consolation is that a competent body shop does such wonders for an accident that is almost entirely cosmetic that I won't be able to tell when they are done.

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