A scary drive home

Driving down the road. Ten o'clock at night, dark, wind gusting 100 km/h, debris flying across the road, lightning storm flashing up in the sky on my right.

I'm taking it easy, 40-50 km/h, high beams on. Passing through a small(ish) town something falls/flies into the power lines 100 m ahead of me and the whole street lights up in that blue, electric light. Pshahh! I squint and take my foot off the accelerator. The street goes black.

I look closely at the road ahead of me, ready to stop. No power lines down. Phew! Continue on.

Another 10 km on a rural, windy road. Branches are flying horizontally across the road, plastic bags, cardboard. A roadsign is down. Reflective markers are vibrating in the wind.

I see a tree down on the road ahead of me. I slow down, stop. It's laying across both lanes but there's a wide shoulder I can use to get past it so I drive past, stop at the next safe spot about 1 km ahead and dial 111 to get through to Police.

Actually, first I get out of my car to get to the phone that's in the back of the car, whilst the car door attempts to be ripped off, and another car pulls up alongside me. A young man runs out, shouting for me to come help.

"What's happened?"
"Come and help me at the tree there!"

First I think that there's someone needing help there, but then I realise that this guy simply wants me to come with him, park our cars on either side of that tree and put our safety blinkers on, to warn other drivers.

- "I'm not going there. There are trees all around that place, I am not parking my car there," I tell him.
- "I just drove straight into that tree at 100 km/h!" he shouts over the wind. "We have to do something!"
- "Which is why I'm taking out my phone here and calling the Police to report this tree. I'll ask them what they want me to do, but I am not parking my car there."
- "But I just drove into it at 100 km/h!" he shouts again and walks back to his car where he starts picking leaves and branches out of the front of his car.

Right before I get back into my car and out of the wind I shout at to him, smiling, "And I suggest you don't drive 100 km/h in this!"

But inside, I'm not smiling - all I'm actually thinking is, are you f*cking mad driving THE SPEED LIMIT in this!? This???

I get back in the car and call 111. "I have a road safety issue to report, a tree is down on the road." - "Please hold, I will put you through to Police."

Half an hour later I'm home. It's incredible - I think we are sheltered by Port Hills because the wind up here is not even remotely what it was like down on the flat. Down there is was 100 km/h easily. I wouldn't be surprised if it was actually more.

I'm so f*ckin' relieved to be home, and so grateful. And, hey, even power is on still! Ten thousand other people apparently aren't that lucky.

www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/221152/storm-sparks-fires-across-canterbury,-38,000-without-power 

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I was hoping you got home safely. Some people don't really know how to 'drive to the conditions'. Good on you for not parking your car near that tree!

    Glad to hear you're home (and that home isn't so windy/power-less).

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