Monday, March 22, 2010

Icy Roads Take Me Home

 When I took our truck in to be serviced a week or so ago, I left pretty early in the morning--which meant I'd have plenty of time to run errands after the routine maintenance was completed.  It also meant that snow was still abundant on the passing scenery, as shown in this photo:

This concept--snow--is like the parks/vegitation of the east for an Arizona desert rat like me.   (and I know the snow in these pictures is nothing for you easterners...a little piddly snow, very blah.  But see! this is NEVER snowy.  This is DESERT.  These are scrubby desert plants.  See how spokey they are, and probably prickly too, waiting to jab you when you walk by them.  That is how desert plants are, I tell you.)

Icy roads, however, aren't so much a novelty as...well, a new experience that borders on nightmarish.  And I ran into (or rather, drove along) some icy roads that day too.  The closer I got to my destination, the icier the road became.  I felt the tires lose traction a few times, but I drove nice and slow, like everyone else and eventually made it to my desitnation unharmed--albiet later than I'd hoped.

What was odd to me, and maybe you've found yourself in a similar situation, was that I didn't really have any option other than to keep driving along the road even though I didn't know how the heck to drive the Right Way on ice.  So did that make me a hazard on the road?  I think at least, a little--yes.  I was alert, doing my best to avoid really slick looking patches, driving slowly--but the thought haunted me that I could possibly make a novice's mistake that could do some serious damage.

I wonder what other people do in situations like that?  And isn't driving one of those activities that forces these kind of situations on us almost regularly?  It's really not uncommon to be driving along and encounter something hazardous and/or unexpected and/or that we've never dealt with before.  It's usually weather related, but not always.

I guess I'm thinking about my obligations to be prepared to handle those kinds of situations beforehand...but...and this occured to me during the icy stretch of road...even if you know what you're supposed to do, will you really do that in the moment of crisis?  Especially if you've never had the chance/opportunity to try it before?

In conclusion: driving is a sort of nerve wracking thing at times.  Also, even if you're an Arizona driver who never plans on seeing snow, ice, torrential rain, fog, hail, etc., let along drive in them, it still behooves you to learn how to drive in those conditions because You Never Know.

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