Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow Day

The weather people have been telling us about the heavy snow falls in other parts of the country (I am in Northern Virginia) and about the ice storms, lack of power etc. Depending on where live you learn to live with the snow and life goes on, albeit a bit more slowly, and a bit colder, or you succumb to the snow and collapse under its weight (well maybe figuratively not literally).

Here we are not used to snow, and when the occasional storm hits everything shuts down, schools, offices, roads, etc. Most of the local suburban roads are the responsibility of the local community association, and so the plowing and sanding is somewhat erratic. It is a bonanza for anyone with a pickup truck, or SUV, or other such vehicle that can have a snow plow attached to the front end. Those folks are out there at the first flake fall catching them almost before they land.

But the main roads are state and county responsibility and they are not as quick to respond. I was at the office yesterday and the morning news had predicted that there would be snow, but later in the afternoon. My desk duty shift ended at noon, and I stopped at the local big box store (OK so I stopped at Costco to also sample the freebies at the kiosks set up at the ends of the aisles) for a few breakfast groceries - eggs and OJ.

In any case it took all of twenty minutes and I was back on the road for what is now a ten minute trip from the office to my home. By that time the roads had become more than a little dusted with snow, and the cars rolling over that fallen stuff caused it to compact and thus form ice. Driving was not fun. Because of the snow, traffic was moving at the posted limit which was about 35 MPH. No one was speeding. All the cars, the big SUVs , the minivans included, were moving very cautiously, not changing lanes and keeping a respectable distance between themselves and the car in front.

All was going well, and I was congratulating myself on having survived the first snow fall. As I pulled into the turn lane at the intersection between the road I was on and the road that would take me the last mile or so home I had to slow down and stop because there was a red light. So, already going slowly, I innocently put my foot on the brakes and nothing happened. Oh, the brakes held alright, but car was on a sheet of ice and just kept sliding forward. I could see it going to happen but could do nothing to stop it, there was only about two car lengths between us, and not enough time to react, or even think of what to do. Do like bumper cars, my car rolled into the back of the SUV in front of me, and that car reacted by sliding forward itself.

There was no damage to the car I hit, and only minimal damage to my car but it would have been better if it didn't happen at all. I have an appointment with the GEICO adjuster next week to see what it will take to get the damage fixed. It isn't restricting the car's ability to run, and it isn't terribly unsightly, just annoying

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