It's like you're seeing the end of the tunnel, but it's not a bright, shiny light. It's your impending doom.
On December 10, 2016, there was a massive pileup on I-75 North, near Holly Rd., MI.
I was driving south near Flint. Around 2 p.m., the snow started to pick up while I was still an hour away from home after visiting my sister in Lansing, MI.
The roads began to accumulate dusty snow. Tracks were made and that's where my tires rolled. But, that didn't matter. Aside from driving just above 25 m.p.h., my brakes still locked when I tried to slow down. Cars were up ahead just 500 ft. in front of me, and I felt like that was it. My car didn't have the best traction, it wasn't going to stop. It was going to slide.
Two days ago on I-75, there was a 30-40 car pileup just past Fowlerville, MI. Two people lost their lives. I felt as if this pileup would be only the first of many this winter season...
Cautious drivers know not to exceed certain speeds in this kind of weather condition. Especially, when anxiety crept up my spine and my mind began to wonder, "Am I about to drive into a pileup? I can't see anything. Are those brake lights ahead? Oh, god. Oh, god."
I refused to exceed 20 m.p.h. Especially around a curve I was coming up on.
That's when I saw the first car that had slid off the road. It was a newer model of a Ford Mustang, orange with a black stripe. An elderly couple sat in the vehicle. But, it faced backwards on the side of the road. Backwards as in, I was staring at them through their windshield as I slowly drove past. Within the 10 seconds of visual I had on the vehicle, I saw the elderly man on the phone. That was what kept me going.
"They're going to be okay. I'm going to be okay."
I tried to reassure myself that if I saw any other cars laying on the side of the road, they already called for help. Just for the sake of getting myself through the storm.
After slowly passing along another curve on the highway, I saw one car on the opposite side of the highway, like it had viciously slid of the road. And then another, this one smashed into the railing towards my side of the road. And then, I saw I saw a semi-truck. After that, the crashed cars lined up on the freeway like they were ready to be crushed at a junkyard.
My heart pounding, I dialed my mom.
I described to her all that I was seeing: "There's..oh my god...there's so many cars, mom. There's at least...oh my god....at least 30 cars, mom. I think I'm going to die."
My heart broke uttering that statement to my mother, but really, I didn't know.
There were people sprawled out across the scene. Some covering their faces, whether from the rough snow of the storm or soothing a wound. Some were photographing the damage on their vehicles, some were still being helped out of their smashed vehicles.
But, there was one person I saw that I don't think my memory will let me repress. This person was looking into a car that was flipped over. Looking for signs of life. I passed by, unable to stick around for the sad or happy ending.
On the phone with my mother, I listened to her calming voice telling me everything would be okay, although I sensed the doubt in her tone. For her, I calmed my crying.
I couldn't believe while all of that was going on, cars on my side of the road still sped past me. Either those people believe they're invincible or they're reckless. Those kinds of drivers cause pileups during snowstorms.
I watched. It was a horrifying scene I could only visualize in my nightmares. I had never witnessed a car crash, besides my own minor crash that caused no injury to either party.
It took 5 minutes for my slow rolling vehicle to pass the devastating scene. I kept hope in my heart that there were no fatalities.
My mother kept me on speaker phone with my father beside her.
After driving past the pileup, I felt as if only worse situations lie ahead on this road.
I did not trust any driver around me, worried that if they skidded, they would take me off the road.
"I don't want to die, mommy," I screeched on the phone, panic attack ensuing.
"You aren't going to die!" My mother frantically responded, "Stop crying, or you won't be able to see the road!"
I choked up the urging tears and continued to drive through the snowstorm. It felt endless.
The snow started to lift as I drove into Oakland County. The roads were more drive-able, and I wasn't as worried about losing my life to the snowstorm on the highway.
"Mom, I-I-I think it's clearing up..." I said with extreme hesitation.
"Okay, good. Good. Keep going. It'll all be okay."
A smile came upon my face for the first time in over an hour. I felt as if I wasn't going to lose my life, and my anxiety began to thin out.
"Everything's going to be okay," My mother spoke the words, they repeatedly echoed through my mind.
I still have an hour drive until I'm home where I belong.
But, I've passed the storm. I'm keeping my eyes out for the rainbow.