We had our first real snow of the season yesterday. It’s so beautiful when you get those first soft snowflakes. The world kind of seems surreal. It’s dark but all the lights around you are more pronounced. You can taste and smell the freshness in the air, the chill. It’s so exhilarating!
That being said, driving in the snow. Not so exhilarating! Especially for those of us who are naturally anxious or panicky by nature. Why? Well, I had a bad experience driving in the snow. More then one actually. But I’ll just tell you about the one.
A few years ago I lived about 5 minutes from a small ski hill called Martock, just outside of Windsor, Nova Scotia. I really was in my element there. I love snow, I love skiing. I would literally spend hours on the hill. My younger brother and I really bonded over it. We finally had something we were equally passionate about and equally good at. For him it was snowboarding and for me it was skiing. I did try to learn to snowboard and plan on trying again this year, but I was not very good. Either way we had the time of our lives on that ski hill.
The road from Windsor, past Martock to our place in Lower Vaughn was a long winding road that went up into the mountains then back down again and into Chester, Nova Scotia. There is a small river that runs along side it for most of the road. In some places on level with the road and in other places a ways down from the road. It’s treacherous and many people have lost their lives on it in the winter and summer both.
One day I was driving home from work in the city. My bother was at Martock and I was supposed to stop on the way and pick him up. I arrived and he was no where to be found. I called my house and they said he was already there. I headed home. I was not even out of the parking lot when my ex called, I wont go into details but it was not a good relationship and was not a good call. I was upset. I started out from home which was only about 5 min away. I never made it.
From what I am told they believe I hit black ice and went through the guard rail and down into the ravine below where the river was. I was suffering hypothermia and I remembered climbing out the back window of the car (only way I could go) and climbing the hill where I flagged down a car and an ambulance was called. My car was totaled. I was okay. However, after that I was scared to drive in the winter. Still to this day I am a nervous wreck when it comes to driving in winter.
It gets me thinking about what it was like the first time I drove a car. Hence the title. I learnt to drive when we were living in the house from this post in Digby, Nova Scotia. I was 17 and working at McDonald’s. My parents wanted me to learn how to drive so that I did not have to rely on them to get back and forth to work. So in the dead of winter on icy roads, Dad took me to a dirt back road on the side of a mountain (see a pattern here?) and taught me to drive.
What was he thinking? That if I could drive in the worst of conditions, I could drive even better in the best. At least I think that’s where he was going with that, you never know. Either way. I learned to drive and I have to say I learned to drive pretty well. I had 11 years of no accidents. Not even a scratch. Not even a post in a parking lot. Till the accident I talked about above.
What was it actually like that first time? I was terrified. We had no snow tires :? then again Dad figured if I could handle that and not get us killed I could handle anything. I’m not sure it crossed his mind – what if I did get us killed? What if something did happen? Who the heck knows.
He took me up and down that road a number of times to get used to the feel of the car and braking, accelerating and turning. I already had my learners permit and had a good knowledge of the rules of the road. It was just the first time putting theory to the test. I think I did pretty good. My dad took me to a parking lot next and we practiced parking with those yellow/orange cones placed as other cars. Then we practiced with the real thing. I think I did pretty good. All cars went home ding free, well at least not with ones I put there.
What was your first time like?