Winter Driving



Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed a bit of a phobia surrounding winter driving.  I’m not sure if it was the fact that first winter I had a job further than ten minutes from my home turned into one of the worst we’d had in a long time, sending me slip-sliding all over snowy, icy roads regularly or if it developed more during my pregnancy with E as an outlet for all the anxiety, or if it was a combination of circumstances.  Whatever created the situation, I let out a sigh of relief when we reached late March and then early April.  We were through winter.

The second Friday in April came.  I got ready for work.  Arthur told me to take the four-wheel drive.  “They’re saying it may snow,” he said.  I rolled my eyes, but took the SUV.

At around 3 am, some of my coworkers who were coming in to start early shifts said it was snowing like crazy.  “Getting bad out there,” one of them said.  I gritted my teeth and hoped it was gone by the time I left at around 8 am.

By the time the full dayshift arrived, the weather was the topic on everyone’s mind.  “I slid through a stop sign,” one said.  “I got sideways,” said another.  The last summed it up succinctly: “It’s the worst driving I’ve done the whole winter.  And it’s not even winter anymore.”

Darn it.

I headed out to the car after finishing up and was struck immediately by how slippery the sidewalks felt.  It wasn’t snow so much as an icy grit that covered everything.  If I hadn’t been working again that night, I probably would have had a cup of coffee at work and waited for it to melt off a bit.  However, I needed to get home to sleep.  It was a short drive away, as once we’d moved, I lived about ten minutes from work once again.

The main road was icy but not terrible.  I knew once I turned off for the majority of the journey home, it would probably be a sheet of ice though, and I was right.

I crawled along, feeling the wheels slipping with every adjustment or tap of the brakes.  I could feel my panic rising.  Thankfully the road was all but deserted, but I flipped on my hazard lights to let anyone coming around me know that I was going very slowly indeed.

It took me nearly 25 minutes to get home, white-knuckling and fighting fear the entire way.  By that evening, however, the sun was out and the roads were clear.

Truthfully, that more or less sums up life these days: sudden, unexpected storms of worry, grief, or sadness.  But like driving on that icy April morning, we’re managing.  Even when it feels long or I have to essentially put on the hazard lights and go really, really slowly, struggling along.  Instead of wondering if winter will ever end, I know that eventually the sun and warmth will come back.

It’s finally spring.

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9 thoughts on “Winter Driving

  1. Upside of IF

    So relatable! I was never afraid of winter driving (I live in Texas where its less of an issue) until I got in an accident because of ice 2 years ago. I went underneath and overpass, where the sun had not gotten to the ice yet, and slid WILDLY all across 4 lanes and smashed into the median. I was so so so so so so lucky because there were no cars coming when I was spinning around and around. Ever since then, I do NOT mess with ice! Spring is here 🙂

  2. Well, your post is very timely because we’re just coming of a big spring storm that had 4 feet of snow in some parts of the city. Not a fan of winter weather right now.

    I like the way you make winter driving a metaphor for other things that go on anytime. i relate to that.

  3. What a beautiful analogy, beautiful post. I’m sorry for the spring snow…I hate winter driving too and while we were spared in western NY from a horrible winter, there was a lake effect event when I was driving home from my best friend’s house 5 hours away that had me terrified I was going to end up in the ditch. I’m glad you made it home, white knuckles and all, and I’m hoping the sun comes out literally and metaphorically soon, for longer and longer periods.

  4. Sorry for the white knuckle drive home. I actually don’t mind winter driving anymore. However, when I first moved to Finland, I was terrified of driving in the winter because of a bad car wreck I had with black ice years before. I took a winter driving course here, it gave me confidence and knowledge and then I got practice. It’s actually kind of fun to make the car slide, when no one is around and nothing is near to hit. But only a tiny bit at a slow speed. 🙂 Winter tires help too.
    The analogy is very appropriate too. *hugs*

  5. Ugh. I’ve only ever once been in a car in snow, and it was scary. I really love your penultimate paragraph. So true, and such a great attitude.

  6. I hate driving after an icy storm for all the reasons you described. And I can relate about the anxiety these storms bring, both literally as well as metaphorically in our lives. Often, going slow and finding your footing is always the best course. And knowing that the sun will shine again and melt away the ice. Even if it’s just a little bit at a time at first.

  7. Perfect analogy. I don’t love driving on snow/ice, and tend to stay in long past the point where it’s safe to drive again. I wonder what that says about my personality.

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