One late winter Monday morning several years ago, I was driving down from Park City to take my daughter to the Salt Lake airport to catch a flight back to school (U of M – Ann Arbor). Park City is about 1500 feet of elevation above Salt Lake and I-80 snakes down Parley’s Canyon to the floor of the Salt Lake Valley through some stretches that are fun to drive in the summer, significantly less so in the winter.
Several of the curves in the canyon have an orientation that promotes the formation of “black ice” – a condition where the pavement looks harmlessly wet but is actually a solid sheet of ice. If you don’t know where it usually forms, you won’t know you are on it until it is too late – and if you panic and hit your brakes, you are done.
This particular morning was a perfect morning for black ice.
As we wound down the mountain, the morning commute was building to a crescendo with tourist traffic mixed in with locals – you learn to tell the difference after being here for a while – and as we approached a curve known to the locals as one where the black ice formed, the traffic started to slow – drivers weren’t braking, just letting off the gas… I should say that most drivers were but in front of us were three SUV’s that had just passed us going full tilt down the canyon.
I could see in my mind’s eye what was about to happen. I instinctively reached my arm across my daughter an pushed her back in her seat and said, “Hang on.” Sure enough, the lead venicle slipped a bit and the driver panicked. They slammed on the brakes and when the tires broke traction, it started a slide across three lanes of traffic. Of course, the trailing vehicles also hit their brakes in a futile attempt to avoid the first vehicle which was now spinning toward a concrete barrier on the shoulder.
Within seconds, there were six vehicles involved and we were headed directly into the disaster unfolding in front of us.
You hear of people saying that in situations of immediate danger, time slows down. I can attest to that because that is exactly what happened. I was immediately aware of everything – my vision was Hi-Def, my mind was totally clear and every sense was tingling with a new found Spidey Sense.
For a split second, it seemed as if we were in the middle of a chase scene from one of the Fast and Furious movies – to our right, a car hit the concrete barrier and went airborne. The lead vehicle hit the concrete barrier head on and bounced back into the right lane – to our left, three vehicles were in various states of crashing. It became very clear that I had a decision to make – hit the brakes and join them or do what I had heard NASCAR drivers do when approaching a crash and pick a path and hit the gas to drive straight through.
That’s what I did. My mind locked onto a course, and I hit the gas. The V-8 in my Jeep Grand Cherokee roared to life, we were already in all-wheel drive and we drove straight through the chaos without a scratch. All I remember is looking in the rear view mirror and thinking, “Damn. That actually worked!”
Neither my daughter nor I said a word until we got safely down the canyon – about another 8 miles…
The point of this meandering story is that all the leftist inspired/funded protests on the street, the cry-in’s at the universities, the lies and smears of the mass media and all the pending Congressional Democrat attempts at obstructionism are like that situation on the black ice that morning. The GOP has a decision to make as they speed down the canyon. They can slam on the brakes, lose control and join the chaos and disaster or they can pick a path, hit the gas and drive straight through. In the past, they panicked and ended up playing vehicular pinball, bouncing off obstacles until their agenda was a steaming, smoldering pile of wreckage.
Not this time. This time, they need to hit the gas.
I hope they make the same decision I made that icy morning on I-80 several years ago.