I buckled my seat belt and turned the key in the ignition. The car started
right up. Instead of seeing the digital odometer on the display, I saw a
different message. It was a message I had been dreading but tried to
convince myself I would not see it for a while yet. It read, “ICEY
CONDITIONS POSSIBLE. DRIVE CAREFULLY.” Really? Already?
We just had Halloween. How can it be cold enough for that message to come
on? Sure enough; I looked at the temperature gauge for outside and it read
28 degrees. Then a modest little snowflake glanced over my windshield on
the edge of a frigid north wind. It did not stay long as it must have had
others to tell its blustery news. I was instantly disheartened.
Sure, it’s just one snowflake now and one cold afternoon. But I know what
is coming. Soon there will be a “dusting” of snow on the driveway in the
morning. Then you will go out to your car at the end of the day and have
that half-inch of accumulation that has caught on the wiper blades and invited
its friends to join it there. No big deal, right? Wrong! Next come
the ice storms when your car and everything around are incased with ice.
You cannot walk across a parking lot without slipping around. Workers
start throwing salt on the sidewalks like grass seed on a lawn in the
spring. You reach your car and find out it is entombed in ice and the
doors are incapable of opening. (Remote car starters are a lifesaver at
times like this. If all else fails, you can usually climb in through the
trunk.) Forget the four wheel or all-wheel drive. This is ice you
are dealing with and it is uncaring about such things. All you can do is
pick the route home with the fewest hills and remember your winter driving
lessons. Snow in and of itself is a wonderful thing. It is
wonderful, that is, to look at through a window. Driving in it is the next
phase of winter. The first accumulations are usually light and easily
driven through. Soon come the snowstorms when you must go out. THEN
it is nice to have the four wheel or all-wheel drive. The roads
never seem to be plowed until you shovel your driveway and then the plow pushes
new snow into the end of it, preventing your coming or going. And all of
this started with a warning display on the dashboard and one flake of
snow. It is no wonder Florida was created.