As my daughter and I were driving home the other night through a pretty fierce snowstorm I began to think about how my driving through the storm was like my life.
As I drove onto the highway I felt confident. It was snowing quite a bit but the blowing was minimal. The roads seemed slightly snow-covered but not slippery. I pulled out into the passing lane and drove by one or two cars. I noticed they were barely creeping along the highway but I felt confident about my driving so I went ahead. I looked in my rear view mirror a bit down the road and realized that they were following me. Sometimes in a storm it helps to have a car or truck lead you through the storm when you are unsure of the road. They were both slowing and speeding up as I did. Sometimes you are the leader when others need to be shown the way.
A bit farther down the road I noticed both cars were gone. Probably turned off one of the exits. Suddenly I saw a bit of red light far ahead of me. It looked like it was blinking but I couldn’t tell. The snow was now coming down pretty hard. Visibility was severely limited. I asked my daughter if she saw the lights too. At first she did not but then she said she could faintly see them. We drove another mile or so when suddenly two cars rushed past me in the passing lane. The wind picked up and the snow limited my visibility to the edge of the road and the front of my car. I got scared. I slowed down to a creep. I began to think about all the big trucks that drive this route and don’t always have working rear lights. During the best of weather you can come up on them suddenly and see a barely working rear light on one side with all the other back lights burnt out. What if there were a truck just ahead of me and I wasn’t seeing it? Would I hit it from the rear? I started to panic a bit and slowed down to a crawl. Sometimes our fears are valid and we need to slow down but other times they only hold us back from getting where we need to go.
As the snow slowed a bit again I sped up a bit as my confidence returned. I let two cars pass me as I came upon the truck that was there all along and his rear lights were barely visible. As I left the truck behind I noticed my confidence surging a bit. I passed the obstacle that was in my way.
We passed two accidents on the way. Both had just happened but police were stopping just as we got to them.
As we neared home I crested a hill and suddenly there was a very slow-moving truck in front of me. I couldn’t pull into the passing lane because there were 4 cars about to pass me so I applied my breaks. It was shear ice! My anti-lock brakes did their job and we stopped just short of rear ending the tractor-trailer. The cars zoomed past me and I tentatively pulled into the passing lane to get around the truck. It was super slippery. As I was passing the third truck in the line a pickup truck came quickly up behind me. It was riding my bumper trying to get me to go faster. My first instinct was to speed up more and get out of his way. But, I also knew that we were on ice and I was going as quickly as I felt appropriate. The thought flashed through my head that I will be by this truck and move over in just a minute. The truck behind me will have to wait for that minute so I can do it safely. I am doing what is right for me and if the car behind me is unhappy or mad I can’t control their response. I have to do what is right for me. I will be over soon and only holding them up for less than 2 minutes, I am not holding them up forever.
We arrived home safely after 1 hour and 20 minutes for a 40 minute drive. But, as I thought back over the drive and the life lessons I was thinking I will remember this drive for quite some time.