Sally was a modern girl, she had been to a top University, earned a degree and now had a plum of a job an hour away from her classy condominium. She enjoyed her job at one of the states top law firms. It was challenging and had an element of soap opera about it, most of all it was allowing her to live a very stylish lifestyle. She had a walk in closet in her master bedroom that attested to her expensive taste.
She opened her eyes with a start as her alarm clock chirruped and her day began. There was a lot to do to prepare for her commute and the day at work. She rolled over and sat up, already thnking of what she would wear. Her condo was awesome. It had a heated two car garage and that made winter so easy. She never had to brush snow off her brand new SUV and she never had to put on those hideous snow boots ordinary people in the suburbs had to wear! The underground parking at work made snow gear a thing of the past. She went from dry warm garage to dry warm garage. Ahh it was the life.
As she padded to the bathroom she turned on the sound system for some background noise. The announcer was going on about a cold front moving in...so mundane, she used the remote and changed the station to some upbeat music to start her day.
It took her about an hour to get ready and have healthy Granola bar with a drizzle of chocolate for breakfast. She whipped up a Coffee Latte for the drive in and poured it in to her chrome thermal go-cup. With one final glance at herself in the full length mirror she was ready. She had to admit she looked professional and elegant. A short black skirt accentuated her legs, the 4 inch Louboutin spike heels added to the effect...legs that wouldn't stop! Her dark cream blouse was housed in a sleek gray jacket with a band of sleeve showing at each cuff. She took one last look at her hair, a short sharp business cut with a hint of tousle made her rich auburn hair look European and wealthy chic!
She was prepared for anything the day could throw at her.
The SUV was nice and warm when she stepped into it. She loved the remote start and the way it allowed her to wear nothing more than the light jacket to work. She checked her I-phone for calls and texts and pushed the remote garage door opener. With her thumb she scrolled down a long list of text's and she noted one from her mother asking if she had heard about the storm headed her way...her mother always worried about the weather. Sally wondered if that was all old people had to talk about. Sighing she took a sip of the Latte and then put the cup in the cup holder and set to back out of the garage.
She was a little surprised at the weather...the door had opened to show a bit of a snow squall. She always kept the heavy drapes closed in her condo closed to show off their velvety texture and to keep any stray morning light from bothering her while she slept. Nothing to worry about, she had this great SUV with four wheel drive, she could handle it. She did turn the heat up a bit though as she turned onto the highway.
She had driven this route enough to have it almost totally memorized, she had time to answer some phone calls. She was a safe driver and used the Bluetooth capability of the vehicle. Staying safe was something she tried to do and anyway it was pretty cool. She glanced at the gauges and noted to herself she had better fuel up on the way home tonight after work, maybe before she went to supper with Derek from International Legal. Her commute usually took about an hour, time she spent on the phone or glancing at paperwork. Today, she sighed, it was going to take a bit longer, people were going way slower than they needed to. She thought everyone should have a four wheel drive!
As she continued down the road she noticed there was a lot less traffic than normal and the road surface was getting to be a bit more snow covered all the time. Occasionally a gust of wind would blow snow across the road in front of her. It made the visibility drop. She turned the heat up another notch. It seemed the storm was coming toward her and getting worse by the minute. What was it the weather guy had said? Sally thought maybe she could get more information so she changed the station from pop to the weather station. Sure enough they were going on about the storm again. It was coming in from Canada and was starting to dump inches of snow in places. She glanced at the clock on the screen on the dash, she was just a half hour from work. It wouldn't get much worse before she got there. They were going on like it was the end of the world not just a bit of winter driving.
Sally was beginning to deal with one more phone call, one from her best friend, they had planned to go shopping at that trendy little shoe store a block away from the office at lunch. The shoes there were just fabulous. Perhaps Sally was thinking about the shoes just a bit too much because as she rounded a turn the SUV hit a patch of drifted snow covering some ice and lost traction! The SUV was heavy and the momentum Sally had was enough to send the big vehicle into a skid! It was almost slow motion as it went across the oncoming lane and over the edge of the shoulder. It continued down slope for about thirty feet before stopping in a snow bank along some trees. Sally gave a small delayed cry and couldn't quite believe what had just happened. She was a bit shaken up and lucky for her the vehicle was just fine. The slope she had come down was not as steep as many and there had been no danger of rolling. She shifted to park and assessed her situation.
She looked back up the bank to see her tracks, they were slowly filling with snow. Ahhhh, she had better call for a tow truck and then work. She reached for her I-phone to find she had lost reception and now seemed to be parked in a dead zone. She would have to get up to the road to get help and call. She undid her seatbelt and opened the door. The cold hit her like a blast of pure ice! She didn't want to walk in that, hey she had a four wheel drive, the slope wasn't bad she should be able to drive back up it. She pushed the 4x4 button and engaged drive, she gave the vehicle some gas and the engine came to life, the SUV tried to grip the slope but there was just enough moisture and snow to stop it from making any headway. There it sat, spinning and roaring but going nowhere.
Sally gritted her teeth, she was going to have to get to the road, she wondered why no one had looked over the edge of the road to see who had slipped off but as she looked back up the slope she could see why, the tracks were already filled and the snow was coming down way harder. She sighed as she swung out of the vehicle, these were her favorite shoes. Now she learned something about heels. They stick into soft ground and then they don't want to come out. As she took her first step her shoe stayed where it was, stuck, and her barefoot was suddenly buried in bitter cold snow, right up to her dainty ankle! She shrieked and jumped back to the vehicle! Suddenly that slope looked like Mt. Everest or the Arctic, unattainable.
It was precisely at this moment the engine shuddered and coughed to a stop. Out of gas! The angle it was sitting at had caused anther unforeseen circumstance....the low fuel level had been made worse, the fuel had all drained to the opposite side of the intake. It was not getting fuel although it would have been just fine in the highway! Sally just sat there stunned, how could this happen she asked herself, why me? I am always ready for anything, always prepared. I am a modern and independent woman. She was looking up the slope to the highway and dreading the walk in bare feet and her suit jacket. She was going to get frozen and ruin her suit. It was a disaster! She cupped her face in her hands and began to cry. She thought of those clunky old snow boots from childhood and how warm they kept her feet. She remembered her Father telling her to always keep her vehicle full of fuel in winter. She was getting ready for a good cry when a sudden tap on the window made her look up.
A state trooper was standing there holding up her shoe with a wry grin. She opened the window. “Are you alright Mame,” he asked?
A few hours later Sally was soaking up heat from her fireplace, the SUV wasn't safely in the garage yet, it still had to be towed. She had called work to find the office had closed due to the storm. The rescue by the young trooper had been so lucky. The State police had received a call from a home across the valley from where Sally went into the ditch, they had seen the vehicle and called for help. He gave her a stern lecture about preparedness and made arrangements to have her picked up and the SUV towed.
Sally contemplated just what had happened and how she had been totally at a loss as to what to do, worse yet she was completely unprepared for cold weather and any kind of problem. She was making plans....the unprepared Sally was gone. As soon as the storm cleared she was going shopping, this time she would get her Mother and they would head to Eddie Bauer...yes you could still be stylish and prepared and warm. She smiled at the thought, comparing her beautiful and now ruined heels to a pair of clunky snow boots. Then she stood up, walked to the windows and pulled back the drapes to watch the snow fall...she was a lucky, lucky woman!
Are you prepared?
Thank you Washington State Department of Highways for this simple but excellent list of things to have with you when traveling in winter.