It snowed here yesterday. Oh, nothing like the picture here from last winter’s fun. Just a couple of inches. Should be no biggie. But my road is not one of the ones that the city plows first (oddly, since their health department building is here) and that combined with a certain amount of traffic, and the shape of the hill, and oh, who am I kidding – I don’t know exactly what caused this phenomenon, there was a lot of slush. An inordinate amount of slush on the road. Inordinate, I mean, for what one would think we would get for just a couple of inches of snow. The slush covered the part of the road coming down a slight hill towards a major intersection. Major because it intersects with a major road, not because our road is at all major. Our road is actually quite minor – hence the city puts it low on its priority list.
After five years of being able to say – yes, my Mini handles the snow perfectly adequately thank-you-very-much, I’ve had my first Mini in bad weather scare. I was coming down that little hill, put my foot on the brakes to stop at the intersection, aaaand I got nothin. Nothing but the jarring vibration of the anti-lock brakes. Do you think the carmakers could design a solution for those that doesn’t freak out the driver even more than the current situation calls for? This was perhaps the third time in my driving life that my anti-locks have engaged, and in each case my first thought has been that there was something mechanically wrong with my car. Obviously, something is wrong, but it’s not the car. My sequence of thought always goes something like this:
Oh no! Something’s wrong with my brakes! No, those are the anti-lock brakes. I’m still sliding! I should pump my brakes like they said to do in driver’s ed! No, wait, you don’t do that if you have anti-lock brakes.
Ahem. Anyway. Maybe when the anti-lock brakes engage a soothing voice could come from the dashboard:
Anti-lock brakes engaged. Please remain calm. Do not remove your foot from the brake pedal.
In any case, I kept sliding. Until I was about mid-way into the ‘major’ intersection. Mid-way, meaning half of my car nosed out there, I didn’t cross half the intersection. And luckily the lone car coming in that lane saw me sliding and got out of the way. Whew.
And oddly, not the scariest driving experience I’ve had this week. When I feel up to it, I’ll tell you the story of why I will forever more have burned into my brain the memory of a car with its front half in the air flying right toward me. Just a couple feet away from crashing into the windshield in front of me. And that incident happened on dry pavement at lunch hour.
Buckle up out there folks. It’s a dangerous world. But if you have an SUV, don’t feel smug or I’ll start sharing the numbers I collect observing the ratio of SUVs to small cars stuck on the side of the road in bad weather around here. It doesn’t work in your favor at all.