Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Thundersnow Rant

Last week, the DC area got hit hard with one of the fastest snowstorms and it couldn’t have come at a worse time—rush hour.  My work let us off at 4:00pm, but unfortunately it was too late.  The streets were severely packed and I didn’t get home until…wait for it…11:00pm.  My commute home, which typically takes one-hour max, took seven hours.  It was the most miserable and scary drive home in my entire life.  Driving on my typical route looked almost post-apocalyptic, with down power lines, abandoned cars in the middle of streets buried in piles of snow.  I had never driven in such conditions and I hope I don’t have to ever again.  When I finally arrived home (to a house with no power) all the stress and I anxiety I carried with me throughout my drive, culminated into me turning in to a bawling mess, just letting my emotions go after surviving the ordeal.  Although stressful and traumatic, I did learn some things about myself and about what the snow can bring.

First of all, I didn’t think I could do it.  And honestly I still don’t know how I managed to drive home with my rear-wheel drive car (**Note: most BMWs aren’t the best in the snow). I didn’t think my snow driving skills were the best (or my overall driving skills for that matter).  There were many times I thought about pulling over amongst the abandoned cars and calling Justin to come and get me, but right when that thought would enter my mind, I would have someone behind me pushing me along…literally.  Which brings me to my next point…

They say crisis situations, such as fast and furious snowstorms, can bring out the best in people.  I feel that was totally the case during my seven-hour snowstorm commute.  At times when my wheels were spinning and I thought about giving up, there would be someone tapping on my window asking if I need a push.  And unfortunately for me that happened several times.  Just when you think people would be looking out for themselves, you find someone (or in my case several someones) there to lend a hand.

The aftermath (Notice that my car isn't in the driveway,
it was parked the next street over 'cause I couldn't even pull into my street!)
Lastly, as far as survival snow driving skills in my car are concerned I learned two things.  1) A little goes a long way and 2) Just keep going.  The first one refers to applying the gas on slick roads.  You want to place your foot gingerly on the gas so as to not get your rear wheels spinning and then getting stuck.  The second one refers to me taking a different way home that night.   The highway entrance I usually take to get home was blocked with snow so I had to figure out another way to get home.  After getting pushed out of a sticky situation (yet again) the guy that pushed me out told me I was going the correct way (despite having doubted myself), but that I had to keep a steady pace and keep going in order to reach my destination. More hesitation meant more stopping, which would lead to more chances of getting stuck, and I definitely didn’t want that to happen, especially on the highway.  So I followed his advice, kept going and I eventually made it home.

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