One Sunday, my husband and I decided to go to the store together. We needed to get some fruits and vegetables, and had the time to do so. We wanted to go kind of early for better selection, and also to give ourselves the evening to hang out at home. We had heard the weather forecast for that day. We were supposed to get about an inch of snow later in the evening. Snow doesn’t bother us. I grew up in an area that sees plenty of the fluffy stuff every winter, and even got my learner’s permit and first learned to drive in the late fall and early winter. My husband also learned to drive in the winter. No problem.
The place we go, Gentile’s, is usually about a 15 or 20 minute drive, depending on traffic. We expected to be gone maybe an hour total. We almost took the minivan, but decided against it at the last minute for some reason. By the time we got there, the snow had started – a bit early. It was so pretty, floating gently around. We went into the store to pick out our produce for the week. We came out maybe 20 minutes later, and the snow was starting to really come down. We weren’t worried, but were happy we didn’t have too far to go. It looked like it might end up being a bit more than just one inch of snow. So, we quickly put our purchases in the car and started to head home.
Before we got very far, the snow got even thicker, and was piling up on the roads. It became a bit slippery, and we wished we had our old, reliable, good-in-the-snow minivan. The road was curvy, and hilly, and we were in an area where we didn’t have cell phone reception. We slid around a bit, but were going slowly enough that we didn’t panic. We started to see cars stopped at the side of the road, not able to go any further. We kept going. We saw an ambulance that had gotten stuck, which was kind of scary. At one point, our car started to slide on the ice while we were going down a hill. When it stopped, we were facing up the hill.
Now what? Well, we didn’t want to try to turn it back around. There were several cars going up the hill, trying to drive past us, and we didn’t want to take a chance of sliding into them. There were also a few cars ahead of us, and we didn’t want to him them, either. We didn’t want to just stay on the hill there, though – even if no one had been behind us. So, I came up with an idea. The back window was all frosted up, and we couldn’t see through it. I was somehow able to convince my husband to let me walk next to the car and guide him down the hill. He simply put his window down, put the car in reverse, and I guided him down the hill. He did a great job, and I got back into the car at the bottom of the hill. We pulled into a small gated community so we could turn around. We weren’t sure if anyone knew about the ambulance and all of those cars, so we called 911 to report it. It was a good thing we had connection again!
After a little while, we pulled back out onto the road, and again headed toward home. We soon saw a plow coming from in front of us, but it turned around for some reason, and then was driving in front of us. What good luck! Well, this isn’t the end of the story; far from it! A few blocks later, we had to turn to the right. The plow was turning left. We didn’t take it as a good sign that the plow slid into the other lane, spun 90 degrees, and ended up facing us when he turned.
Especially since we had to go the other – unplowed – way! Well, we weren’t far from home, and didn’t really have any other choice, so we kept going. We were doing ok, but were concerned because we kept seeing cars stuck on the road. At one point, we even considered going back, but remembered all the cars that were stuck back there. So, we kept going…until we couldn’t. There were several cars ahead of us that weren’t moving. We pulled over to the side of the road and sat there, looking around to see what was happening. Well, it wasn’t good. We had to take the next left, but there were several cars in the way. Going straight would take longer, but we thought we might give that a try.
Then we saw how many cars were there, too. All parked. There were three cars on the left where we needed to go. They had been traveling on the right (there was only way lane each way), but had slid across and then off the left side of the road. One was actually against a fence. A few minutes later, a police vehicle showed up. He was in an SUV, and was coming from in front of us. He tried to stop, but his vehicle slid into the intersection and hit the third car that was off the road!
We got out of our car to walk around a little, and talk to others who were also stranded there. It turns out that a guy delivering pizzas had been the first to slide off the road, and he couldn’t get out of the ditch. Then there were two cars behind him that also slid across and off the road, and into each other.
Then the police car, of course. Some guy in a big expensive car tried to get through, and ended up getting stuck right in the middle of the intersection. We talked to several people. One was an older gentleman who had fallen and hit his head on the ice. He wasn’t bleeding much, but looked pale, which concerned me. We gave him a bottle of water and a piece of fruit, hoping the sugar in it might help prevent shock. He went back to his car to rest. We had heard that the plow couldn’t get through because of all of the cars in the way, but it was able to spread a little salt nearby. After talking with several people, some of us decided to try to move the pizza delivery car. It was not only in the front, but it was the smallest one. After a bit of pushing, we were finally able to get it back on the road! The plow had been able spread the salt near there, so the driver was able to go on his way. Then we worked on getting the second car out, then the third. Once the third car left, the guy in the big car was able to go through, and then the rest of us each took our turn to leave. I was happy when the guy with the injury left with his wife behind the wheel. Once it was our turn, we were able to make the last part of the trip in just minutes. Our quick trip to the store ended up taking about three hours! I found out later that we got about 8 inches of snow.