This is long but i'm still a bit shaken up after sleeping for 4 hours in my own bed;
I started out driving to Chicago from Columbus around 9:30 am yesterday morning. Got to Chicago, fine around 2pm CST. I had a shoot for 3 hours and went outside to see it was wet snow that wasnt sticking too much so I assumed the highways were better, they were .... until I attempted to drive north to Milwaukee.
I got 40 miles north and 2 tolls later to discover near white out conditions. Now, my car is a 10 year old car with almost 200k miles on it and 2 front bald tires but i'm used to driving in rain and such... but nothing like this. It kept getting worse and worse. I recieved a phonecall then from the photographer in Green Bay (2 hours north) whom I was scheduled to shoot with the following day saying; "the storm is moving north and is going to hit us hard. If you slide off into a ditch it could be two days before you are dug out." Right then in struck me, that could very well happen. Called a friend of mine for the conditions. He went over that it said; "ice pellets/sleet/freezing rain in Chicago and blowing snow in Milwaukee. Snow totals 2-4 inches in Chicago and 8-12 in Milwaukee. Green Bay - much worse. Temps falling and a low of 4 degrees tonight with a -15 wind chill along with 25-35mph winds." He advised me to turn around because it would only be worse tomorrow and if I turned around I could avoid the worst as I drove south and east back home.
Here's where it gets scary; This is 6pm at night i turned around and headed back on I-94. I was going 35mph on the highway in the Middle to left lane (or so I thought). No one could see the lane divisions at this point so everyone was just making lanes - again this is rush hour Chicago traffic. So i'm actually in the far left lane behind an SUV and hundreds of other cars in the front. A semi truck comes down my right hands side going at least 50mph (very very dangerous) when he passes me he throws slush/ice/snow all over my car from the road and I cant see. So i immediate let off the gas and brake lightly because I know there are cars feet in front of me. When I do this (i still cant see at this point) I slide and immediately instead of going to the right or directly in front I go to the shoulder because i knew i was in the left lane. What I didnt know is that the lane is ending due to construction and that is why the left lane is braking to merge into the right lane. I hit a road cone, a closed road sign and the concrete divider. What I didnt know was that a semi truck was right behind me barreling down about 50mph. If i hadnt went to the left it would have smashed into the back of my car. My tires spin but i managed to maneuver out of it and fishtail to where my car was pointing to the highway. Waited for a break in traffic and got back on the highway. I was so shaken up but alright....
Doesnt end from there... On the way home on I 65 south it turns into rain. I hydroplane probably 20 times total on the way back but as I was in the far right hand lane I can only go 45 when I do this. Trucks are passing me throwing water from the road on my car (similar to before) so i slow down throw my hazard lights on and pull over onto what i thought was the shoulder, it was an exit ramp and an SUV was behind me and had to swerve to avoid hitting me almost hitting the exit divider to the highway. I stopped at a gas station and sat in my car and cried for a minute and then realized this could have turned out so much different. Got myself together and drove the rest of the 4 hours home.
After driving for 9.5 hours on a drive that should have taken 5.5. i'm lucky to be alive and in one piece.
be thankful you are breathing people. When you're faced with situations like this you realize we take life for granted so much.
And one more thing I learned? My car is fucking deathproof.