Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas trees

So I was driving on the freeway just now, in a light rain, looking at the Christmas tree tied onto the top of the car a ways in front of me and one lane over. I'm alongside a truck on the other side and going just a tich faster because the truck is spraying water and I don't want to be behind it. So I'm passing but it's pretty low key.

But mostly I'm staring at this tree, because it doesn't look like it's all that stable and thinking maybe I don't want to be behind it, either, and once I'm past that truck I should pop over a lane just in case. We're going maybe 60 - 5 under the limit - and hey, 60 mile an hour winds are serious stuff. And as I'm looking at it - bam - it comes off the car.

It turns out that Christmas trees have some interesting aerodynamic properties that include high drag, because the moment it separates from the car it slows way, way down, almost to a stop, and starts rolling into my lane. I want to make an evasive maneuver, but the only option is to the left, where I'm just clear of the truck. And there's no way I can stop, and if I slam on the brakes I'm going 60 on a slick surface. It's not raining super hard or anything but it's been raining on and off all day and the pavement's quite wet.

Did I mention I have the baby in the back seat? Of course I have a baby in the back seat the first time in 39 my years I find a Christmas tree about to impact my car at freeway speeds.

At that point I basically got lucky. Religious folks, feel free to thank anybody you like, because I'm not entirely sure how I didn't hit the tree. Scooted a bit to the side, luckily the truck saw it too and slowed down, and I accelerated a bit and managed to get past it before it rolled too far into my lane and I only had to go about a foot into the truck's lane.

Hopefully nobody was hurt. The car with the tree pulled over immediately. I don't know if they were stupid enough to try to retrieve it, or if the next car was as lucky as me, or what. Hopefully somebody else called 911 because I didn't think of it until just now.

Bringing a tree home? Feel like the top of the car's the only option? Secure it properly. And you know, surface streets aren't as slow as all that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pine trees (in rows) do make damn fine windbreaks! Usually they're rooted to the earth when employed in that capacity, however...

Glad everyone is alright.


8:46 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Damn...that could have gone very, very badly. Glad you and baby are OK!

8:53 AM  

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