My tongue is in my hand…

Driving Weather

Posted on: June 28, 2008

I can think of 4 driving experiences where I have driven through really bad, people pulled to the side of the road or put on their hazards kind of weather and yesterday was one of them. It was an insane amount of rain, I was on the highway in 5 pm traffic. Recently I also drove through a hail storm that I thought was going to bust my windshield or at least dent my car while driving back roads. There other two were when I was on trips to the mountains. One was a really long version of the I can’t see anything in front of me rain where other people are pulled to the side of the road and the other was night and fog “as thick as pea soup” as my mother said and a really curvy road near Blowing Rock while we were lost.

So I was thinking about my approach to driving in bad weather and how driving situations can be used as life analogies (I ran with this one for a while, so I will probably post some more later) When I hit bad weather, I keep on driving. I may turn on my hazards and I may slow down and keep my distance, but I don’t stop. I guess people figure it’s safer to wait it out or maybe they don’t trust their driving or anyone else’s or maybe they’re scared or believe it will be easier to wait it out. But I’d rather just keep on keeping on. Who knows how long a storm will last and even on the side of the road you can get nailed by an out of control driver. Plus, sometimes once you stop, it’s harder to get going again.

Sometimes, I turn my music up really loud because it distracts me from being scared or worried. So yesterday, I just turn up the radio like it’s any other drive while I grip the wheels at 10 and 2, hazards flashing, windshield wipers on about-to-fly-off-the-front-of-the-car-speed. This worked well enough, just a little freaking out “when will this end!?!?!” kind of thinking and I eventually turned the radio off and it was fine, the rain is kind of a nice sound and I was out of it pretty quickly although there was a good bit of standing water left on the roads to drive through by the time I reached my destination it wasn’t even drizzling and I could see the crazy dark clouds off in the distance.

In the case of the hail storm, I was actually pretty excited at first because it was not hailing, but was storming pretty fiercely and I spent a good part of elementary school years wanting to be a storm chaser and knew it was all basically empty back roads home. I was pretty excited. And then I was freaking out but I reasoned that the slower I drove, the slower the falling hail would hit my car, thus lowering the impact and possible damage and I didn’t take the road with the fallen tree blocking it and I tried to think of the least likely to be washed out and still get me home quickly route. I beat it home and got my car in the garage and opened all the windows and watched it fill our yard with “ice balls” as Natalie called them.

During the interstate mountain trip rain I talked to mom the whole time, yelling over the echo of the downpour. I kept thinking if I could drive through this, I would know I was capable of doing it and that would be good to know in the future. I was proud of myself for not stopping when I saw other cars pulled over. I was slow and it took forever (think I was basically going the same direction and speed as the rain) but it wasn’t heavy rain the whole time and sometimes you would pass under a bridge and get the briefest reprieve.

And in the fog, I drove really slow and acted like it was no big deal to my mom and sister while I was freaking out inside thinking I was going to drive right off the mountain or that some horror moveish scene was about to occur and praying desperately that we could just get to that damn (actually beloved) campground. And we did.

So, chance that you’ll find me waiting it out on the side of the road? Slim to none. Chance that I’m freaking out a little? 90/10. Chance that I’ll make it through? 4 for 4 so far.

Which makes me think of two parts of a book we read in book club “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls (really good book btw) One part the mom (who is homeless) says “Things usually work out in the end.” to which her daughter responded “What if they don’t?” and she says “That just means you haven’t come to the end yet.” And another part where the dad who is dying responds to his daughter’s question “Dad, are you okay?” with “Ain’t none of us getting out of this alive, honey.”

I guess we just keep making it until one day we don’t. And in the meantime try to get better at maybe enjoying it and getting through the bad stuff as best we can.


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