Glare Ice

shimmering mirage
sliding sideways disarray
frictionless motion

The bad weather continues. Schools are closed today after a salt truck toppled over and other semi-trailers got stuck below a hill that leads into town. Fortunately, I can do all of my work from home until the spring semester begins– it’s mostly prepping course materials, recording videos for my online sections, lesson planning, etc., and I can typically do this in spurts before the kids cause too much destruction and I need to intervene. We’ll also run some energy out together once it warms up and gets a bit less slippery.

This morning, I thought about the first and only time I really spun out on ice in my vehicle. I was seventeen at the time and driving to pick up my friend to go on a snowboarding daytrip about an hour north of our hometown. I lived south of town off backroads that were all unplowed, but the snow tires on my little Mazda made it through okay, and I continued into town.

On Sunday, I tried to capture the shimmering coat of ice that encrusted everything in sight, but it’s a bit difficult to see here. You can probably note the busted street sign, however. The last week or so has made for treacherous driving and lots of plowing.

There are three weaving turns that navigate the one-way streets through the center part of our hometown, moving around the major businesses and residential areas. The roads were snow-free in town, but I was a new driver and didn’t even think about black ice. On the second corner, I suddenly started spinning in the opposite direction of where I meant to go. I whirled 180 degrees, screaming the entire time, and ended up facing the opposite direction on the one-way street.

Fortunately, there was nobody else out and about in our quiet little Northwoods town that Saturday morning, and I backed up the car, switched directions, and continued on with my day. My friend and I even continued our drive up unplowed backroads to get to the local ski and snowboard hangout. It probably wasn’t our brightest moment to continue our journey after seeing how the road conditions were, but I drove with a newfound caution that felt very foreign to my carefree teenage self.

I’ve been fortunate enough to not experience any other serious slide-outs on ice over the years, though I know others who have been in horrible wrecks in winter. On days like today, I hope that everyone who ever has to travel in any sort of bad weather is extra cautious.

7 thoughts on “Glare Ice

  1. I had an experience with black ice when I was in my early 20’s and married. I was driving a stick shift car (a Plymouth Cricket if anyone cares), and was able to downshift to 1st gear (below 20 mph) before hitting the other driver who had slipped into the car in front of it. I tried to steer around the mess, but the ice ignored my desperate steering maneuvers completely. It was like being on a toboggan slide.

    There were five cars in my collision, with two more joining me. We were all coming over a hill, and gravity made us helpless. There was no screeching of brakes, but the whoosh of the car coming at the pile up before the smash-thump of them hitting the next car. All of us were in the ditch away from our cars when our vehicles were hit, thank goodness. It was a very frightening experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Driving on ice seems like a challenging task, for sure. I always think I’d prefer living in places with four seasons, but I’m so ill-equipped for routine tasks that it’d prolly be a tough adapting experience.

    Like shovelling my driveway, or needing to warm up the car, or putting chains on tyres. I’ve never had to do any of that, and now it’d seem like so many things to learn at one go, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s okay! I’m sure the locals would be happy to help if you ever decide to travel to a frigid place ☺️ We seem to adapt well to what we’re used to. For instance, I discovered that I am not well-equipped for tropical weather; I ended up dehydrated and with a really severe sunburn when I went to Hawaii. I learned that shade, long sleeves, hats, and water are my friends in that climate, and I’m sure there’s a lot more I have to learn, too. Thanks for reading!


  3. Hehe! I think of it as a rite of passage in the Midwest! My spin out was on a back road at night driving home. I had a fellow technician and her boyfriend plus my 2 cats in the car. I wasn’t going very fast but the car started sliding and then spun. We went off the road and into a field. It was completely flat and everything was frozen solid so I was able to ease the car back on the road. We were only a mile from home. No harm no foul…

    Liked by 1 person

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