I credit nursing for giving me confidence with winter driving. You see, when you know you must show up for work, regardless of horrible icy or snowy road conditions, you just do it. And, then when your shift ends, you know you’re going home. Even if the snow plows haven’t made it out yet.
That’s why I rarely check the weather report. It doesn’t make any difference to me. This week I planned to drive about an hour away to visit my grand-daughter. I told my hubby I wasn’t checking the weather conditions because I was determined to visit.
Then, I read the morning paper. On the third page, I read warnings of “potentially life-threatening travel conditions” for the area I’d be travelling shortly. Warnings of “coldest temperatures of the season” and “extended periods of white-out conditions with roads likely becoming impassable”.
Now that I accidentally stumbled upon this article, I had to decide whether to chance it or not. With the wind chill factor, the temperature would feel like -30 C. I didn’t want to risk being stranded. I detest the cold. I recalled seeing a car in a snow-filled ditch the day before on the same route.
Alarmists. Surely, they were exaggerating. I decided I would venture anyways. If conditions were bad, I’d turn around and head back home. That’s what I would do.
I remembered returning home in a blizzard from a Christmas party in Waterloo a few years back. I asked my husband, Guy why he was suddenly slowing down. Guy answered, “ You see how the road turns left just now? All those cars just kept driving straight!”
Thirty cars were in a farmer’s field, with only their headlights and tail lights showing in the blizzard. I knew conditions could be treacherous in a blizzard. What to do?
The news article recommended packing:
-gravel or sand
-a sleeping bag or blanket
-mittens, gloves and warm headwear
-a brightly coloured cloth or flag large enough to signal for help
Let’s just say I wouldn’t make for a very good boy scout. My shovel was buried with our camping gear in the garage.
I had no sand or gravel. I packed a crocheted afghan. I hoped the holes in it would be okay to keep me warm enough. I didn’t pack candles, matches or extra socks. I packed an extra set of mittens, but they were thin dollar-store ones, for driving. I hate hats so skipped that item. I wore running shoes because I find driving in boots uncomfortable. I intended to pack my boots but at the last-minute, my hands were full, and yup, I forgot them.
What I did pack were Christmas presents for my grand-daughter; my iPad to show her pictures of Pepe and our dog, plus two granola bars to sustain me. And, I packed my camera!
I ensured my phone was fully charged and that my daughter and husband were aware I was on the highway.
The road conditions were excellent for me. Another highway was completely shut down due to horrible weather conditions. Countless motorists were stranded!
I know I lucked out. I plan to take this route often this winter so I’ll be more prepared next time. I remember even though I hate hats, I do own one. Here’s a pic of my daughter and I in our winter headgear: an abominable snowman and a penguin!
Keep safe on the roads!