Friday, January 21, 2011

The White Death

I have to admit that I’m one of those wienies who doesn’t want to be anywhere on the road when it starts snowing. Even a little. That’s hard to admit as I’d prefer to be thought of as fearless. On the other hand, I’m afraid I’ve outed myself as a wienie long ago.

I was listening to WNCI on the radio yesterday morning and the DJs were making fun of the weatherman’s snow predictions. Kept calling it the “White Death.” Ha ha. Only I didn’t think it was all that funny.

It started snowing about 8:30 in the morning and, all told, we had nearly 6”.

So all day I was looking out the windows in my office with growing apprehension. When my boss called (from Florida, no less!) to tell us to close the office at 3PM, I was overjoyed! And I took off outta here like a shot. And then drove, of course, about 25 MPH, annoying the drivers behind me in their big ol’ 4-wheel drive SUVs who scoff at a little snowfall and insist on driving even faster than the speed limit to prove that they’re the fearless ones.

I suppose that’s where my fearfulness originated. I’ve never had a 4-wheel drive SUV and am always worried I’ll slide off the road or something. Again.

Yep, years ago shortly after I got my brand new shiny red Ford Probe GT with the big-ass tires, I was heading to a hair appointment (ha) and it had started snowing – but there was barely a dusting on the road. I grew up in Northeast Ohio and took my driver’s training in the winter, so I figured a little snow wouldn’t hurt anyone. Plus, my new car had (a) front-wheel drive – a good thing, I thought, and (b) those big-ass tires. I thought that meant there would be more tire surface on the road and that would be a good thing, too.

Yeah, not so much.

I started on my journey and took the first exit…and did one of those slow-motion skids. Ended up off the side of the freeway where you usually see dead wildlife. I was so shocked that my front-wheel drive and big-ass tires didn’t come through for me that I just sat there in stunned silence.

Fortunately, some good Samaritans pushed me out and got me back on the road. But I crawled home expecting to slide off the road again at any moment. And, yes, folks – that incident started my fear of driving in snow. Any snow. Plus, I had that car for nearly 11 years, so I spent a LOT of winters slip-sliding away and being fearful.

My new car (well, okay, it’s on its 6th year now, so it can hardly be called “new”…) is much better in the snow. Doesn’t have those big-ass tires on it. But it’s still low to the ground, so it doesn’t do well when there is a lot of snow to clear.

Plus, this one has a handy-dandy gadget on the dash that lights up and tells me my car is not in control – the icy road is. I see the little yellow light and I think, No kidding! I KNOW I’m sliding on the road. Thanks so much for that information, Mazda. (I am, as you might guess, a little sarcastic when talking to Mazda in my head.)

Fortunately, I have been relatively safe on the roads and I haven’t slid off the road or had any fender benders. I say this as I’m crossing myself, throwing salt over my shoulder, giving my black cat away… you know…all the things to try to prevent the gods of Fender-Benders from focusing on me and my Mazda.

So I’m fervently praying for Spring to hurry up and arrive. As it’s only the 21st of January, I suspect I will have a long wait. Sigh.

Ah well. I can spend some of that time deciding my next steps. Either we need to move to a state where the snow never flies…or my next vehicle purchase will be a tank.

If you’re out in this snowy weather, drive carefully and be safe. And stay away from my bumper. Pretty please?!

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