I was late for work this morning. It is difficult to get to work on time with 3 1/2 feet of snow on the ground. Fortunately, my son, Steven, shoveled our driveway. Unfortunately, after he did so, the snow plow came down our small, side street again, piling another two feet of snow behind my car. He came back and shoveled away the same snow from an hour ago. Getting the car out of the driveway necessitated the technique of “rocking”…stepping on the gas all the way in “drive” and the car rocks forward three inches…quickly stepping on the gas as the car rocks backward four inches…repeat, repeat, repeat until the car is free from the driveway and in the middle of the snow covered road, (and my fresh, hot cup of tea has sloshed out of the cup, all over the floor mat in my car.)

I inched down the middle of our street, slip sliding away here and there, but generally staying in the street. Fortunately, no car came in the opposite direction as I am sure we would have both ended up in the snowbanks on the side of the road. At the end of our street, I had to practice another snow driving trick…speeding up way before a hill in order to have the speed and the traction to get to the top of the hill without sliding down backwards. This can only be done by an experienced snowy hill driver because one must also be able to stop at the apex of the hill in order to look for traffic coming in both directions.

Once safely at the top of the hill, I turned and joined the cars on the main street, usually a street plowed well enough to get to work without further delays. On this very windy day, however, the main street was littered with snow drifts and snow piles where they are generally least expected…in the middle of the road! I unsafely drove for a mile or two, dangerously plowing through the snow and frantically turning my wheel against a skid in order to set the car right on the street again. Then I unexpectedly learned “the trick”…I started to follow a bus! Most drivers hate to follow buses because they make a lot of stops, but in the frigid weather and with 6 feet of plowed snow covering the sidewalks, not a lot of people were waiting at the bus stops and the bus kept driving through. Quietly, lurking in the rear shadow of the bus, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that IT plowed through the snow, making a safe path for me. Traveling along behind the bus, I giggled at myself and my discovery! And because where I work is on a bus line, I was able to turn off into my agency’s parking lot without further safety concerns.

I will just have to wait for a bus going in the other direction so I can find my way home safely…


Comments on: "The Trick is to Follow the Bus" (29)

  1. Ugh, it makes me remember going to work and back and having to continually gently tap the brakes going down a hill so not to gain to much speed and slide into the oncoming cars. Oh, I hated driving in snowy, icy conditions.

  2. Ugh – it reminds me of a winter spent in Montreal and reminds of why we decided to return to New Zealand. Cold winters but snow – never.

  3. Meant snow never where we live. We can get to the snow fields in a couple of hours but almost nowhere in this country does one have to negotiate through the snow to get to work

  4. I am so over all of this snow we’ve been getting! Good idea though…

  5. Ugh. This is why we live in San Diego. Be safe!! 😉

  6. smart! I always grumble about getting “stuck” behind a bus as they hold up traffic

  7. I LOVE THIS! It’s my Mom and I’m whole philosophy. Generally speaking the bus routes are also maintained better in our city. But I agree. . . Enough with the snow 🙂

  8. I will gladly switch with you! I miss Connecticut so much, snow and all. We have no snow here in northern California, how boring! It’s not really winter.

  9. I’ve lived in Hawai’i most of my life. If I want snow, I just go to the Big Island, play at Mauna Kea and then go to the beach. I love this boring life!

  10. Not much call for learning to drive in the snow in Australia, but your story reminded me that many years ago I was lost while driving in Yugoslavia, and I stumbled on the “follow the bus” trick also. Except that in my case, I did have to wait through all the stops and starts . . .

  11. There are advantages of living on a bus route!

  12. Reminds me of winters in the Swiss mountains – one reason I moved to the valley! Still snow, but not so much and more snow ploughs!

    • We find that when we go to New Hampshire, the roads are always plowed perfectly! As soon as we pass over the Massachusetts border. Some place just know how to do it better!

  13. That gives new meaning to the phrase “being thrown under the bus!” Well, hopefully not “under,” but right behind. It also reminds me why we live in Georgia–Northwest Georgia, but Georgia, all the same! Our experience with snow is more wishing we’d get some!

  14. When I have a raw kind of day and driver’s on the road are more aggressive than I can stand, I get behind the bus. It’s like having big brother – that no one else is going to mess with – lead the way. 🙂

  15. Most of the time I miss having a lot of snow, but you guys got hit hard, and no one really wants that kind of storm! I remember driving in Montana and my tires spinning all the way up the mountain to work. Once we got a huge snow storm on Mother’s Day and I got trapped at work, but thankfully the owners had a trailer set up for just that kind of weather. Going home the opposite way took several hours and I ended up in the ditch going downhill. Thankfully some guys in a truck pulled me out and took me all the way down the mountain. It’s scary driving in that kind of weather.

  16. Keep warm, be safe and tell us more secrets of living in snow.

    • When it snowed when I was younger, I remember walking to school (1/2 mile) wearing “leggings” (ski pants), insulated underwear under my clothes, warm gloves, warm hat and scarf covering my face. The snow was up to my knees and I’d have to lift my whole leg up to take a step. It was great fun! It was usually an easy day at school because very few kids showed up. These days, they cancel school at the first sign of snowflakes!

      • I used to walk a mile and a tenth to school every day and back. It may have been far for a wee one but it was fun to explore on the way home.
        Walking through knee deep snow would have been fun too but exhausting. Snow days were off days for us. Even as a teacher I hoped we had the day off school. 🙂

  17. I thought our 1 1/2 feet of snow was bad, but you certainly had it worse! Thankfully I am now retired so I was able to just sit with a cup of coffee and think how beautiful the snow was – and say a prayer of gratitude that I did not have to get out in it. Be safe!

  18. I love this. It’s snowing like crazy in Illinois, and I had a difficult time getting out of my parking spot in my building and then down the side streets of my neighborhood. The main roads are pretty safe, but my car is low to the ground and snow was getting stuck underneath it– I learned to roll through most stop signs. I couldn’t risk completely stopping and losing traction. I found myself following a bus as well– the grooves it left behind were perfect tracks of compressed snow. 🙂

  19. Sounds like the hill I have to navigate to get home from work, having to speed up to make it to the top and hoping no one is coming the other way! or is at the corner where I have to turn! We also have your snow-plow driver here. We live on a lesser road, so they don’t get to us right away. Gives us time to get the driveway shoveled before they show up. Sorry about all the snow. We live in northern Indiana and we get some of what you get, although it seems to intensify before it gets to you.

    Love your writing!

  20. It reminds me coming back from the northern Iranian city of Gorgan to Tehran a few years ago. I was driving through Firoozkooh road. In the mountain part of the road, near Veresk Bridge, there was a thick fog. To open my way through the fog, I followed a truck.

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