Day 138: Learn to drive on ice
January 19, 2011 § 2 Comments
There has become a recurring theme in this blog: Stephanie gives me advice and I choose not to listen, after which I suffer for my defiance and learn my lesson.
In Chicago, the streets are typically well maintained. After a snow, plows hit the streets so quickly that tire chains are illegal. In preparation for Chicago’s legendary winters, Steph brought two sets of chains with us from Portland. But when she asked a friend if people here use chains, the friend replied, “Chains? Like for a tractor?”
Tonight we drove to the grocery store. The temperature rose slightly above freezing today, so a lot of standing snow melted, but when it got cold again at night the water refroze and left a layer of ice on the road. Plows can’t exactly scrape that up, so it was particularly treacherous out.
On the way to the store we slid around a little bit. Stephanie cautioned me to leave a big stopping distance and break early when approaching a light because she had almost skidded into an intersection yesterday. Acutely aware of my superior manly-man driving skills, I vocally acknowledged her advice but mentally paid little attention. I’ve actually gotten quite good at this – making noises to sound like I’m paying attention when my mind is really elsewhere.
As we drove back from Jewel we passed Peet’s Coffee. I sort of went into driver-autopilot as I started fantasizing about the cup of coffee I’d make when I got home. I saw the light turn yellow ahead of us and began to brake like I would in normal conditions. Suddenly our wheels started sliding. Next thing you know the light was red and we were in the middle of the intersection. I panicked a bit and started honking like crazy and flailing my arms around the car. I think I accidentally hit Stephanie in the head. After sitting in the middle of the intersection for a sufficiently awkward amount of time and fielding the angry horns of my fellow drivers, I went ahead and pulled through.
I guess I should be a more vigilant driver…and perhaps listen from time to time.