February in the midwest.
I’m not sure there’s anything worse. The cold, the snow … the cold, the snow.
UGH. I hate the snow.
It’s been snowing and snowing like crazy here this week. I know it’s nothing compared to what most of the east coast has been dealing with*, but snow in the Indiana/Ohio/Kentucky tri-state can be a dreadful and dangerous thing.
Our roads aren’t flat. They aren’t straight. They wind up and over and around the foothills we live on; the same rolling hills that make this part of the country beautiful can make it downright treacherous when covered in snow and ice.
A lot of people maintain that all it takes is a bit of caution and a good attitude to get you from point A to point B on a snow day.
I call bullshit.
In high school, I was on my way home from my boyfriend’s house when an ice storm came in. It seemed like no big deal, really — just a bit of freezing rain — but I knew I needed to get home.
I was a good driver. A careful driver in the snow (though a bit of a lead-foot when the sun was shining) and I knew I needed to take it easy. I had a brand new car, after all … a shiny yellow cavalier. I didn’t want to take any risks, so I made sure to take the “safe” way home.
(The safe way home meant taking the route with fewer hills, fewer sharp curves and fewer places to drift off road.)
So I go, slowly, taking caution to never slam my brakes or accelerate too quickly. When I came to a big open intersection where I’d be turning left, I actually TRIED to spin my car out a little, to test the road. Nothing. Seemed like a good sign.
A few minutes later, I’m driving and I notice my car slipping. I’m heading down a hill with no other traffic, but I can’t control my car. Careful not to overcorrect (thanks for always teaching me that, Dad), I try to keep my car on the road.
Suddenly, I hit black ice and my car spins a quick 180-nope-360-still going-540° and I’m backwards, shooting across the road and coasting up on what I assumed was a hillside until my car came to a stop.
You may not believe me, but I was actually a rather calm 18-year-old in this situation.
I remembered then a guest speaker we had in school earlier that week, a firefighter who reminded us to always check for wires if you hit a telephone or power pole. Since I didn’t entirely know what had stopped my car, I looked around to see if there were any live wires. (Yes, this actually all went through my mind).
I tried calling my parents. Thanks to good old fashioned dial-up internet, the line was busy. I was calling and calling when I heard someone outside.
“Hey! Hey! You OK in there?”
I looked up to see a Fire/EMS and a police officer looking down at my car. Turns out they were on their way back from another accident when they saw my car. I started to open the door to get out when…
“DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!”
Okay. Close door. Got it. Rolling down window now…
“Your car is just sort of hanging there. I’m afraid if you open the door it might tip over.”
Um. WHAT!? I looked down out of the window and realize my car is suspended above a small bridge. It was just a culvert, a small creek running under the highway, but still completely terrifying.
Talking with the officer, we decided I’d crawl out the window and slide over the back side of the car. When I got out, climbed up the hill and made it over to talk to the police officer and file my accident report, he asked for my drivers’ license.
“Still in the car?”
“Uh, yeah. I didn’t think to grab my purse as I was shimmying out of my car.”
Long story, um, long, the EMT (my uncle, what up small towns) checked me out to make sure I was OK, and my dad showed up to take me home. When the tow truck showed up (also my uncle … seriously, small towns), they pondered over the best way to get my car out of its precarious situation and realized salvaging it was pretty well hopeless. I still remember cringing as the whole thing came crashing down onto the hill; the car I’d had for only nine months, totaled.
The next day, it was sunny and nearly 70 degrees. No one believed me that I totaled my car in the ice because it all happened after most people were home for the night, safe inside having dinner. It wasn’t until I brought in pictures a few days later that they all could see I wasn’t kidding.
Just like I’m not kidding now when I say I hate the snow.
*Seriously. I know Bostonians have it hella rough right now. Be safe out there.