Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What did you do in the snow?

What did you do in the snow today? I was out driving a BMW Z4. If you don't believe me you can ask my kids.

We were out on a winter-driving practice run when we came upon a 58 year-old Vietnamese woman who had been sitting in her car for an hour and a half. She was more than happy to let me drive her home, perhaps because I was wearing my credentials, a hat that said, "Montana State University." For the record, driving a Z4 in the snow is like driving a snow disc, only without having as much control!

The first incident came as I tried to climb in. When the roof is up on this car, it is very small, about the size of a Chevron Car you can find at your gas station. I bonked my head and apologized. I tried to scoot the seat back. She told me it was back as far as it went. My knee didn't bend enough. I couldn't get in. Some rescuer I was. I finally wedged myself in. I did have more room when I opened the window, so we drove with the windows open. I could also wave people to pass me with my arm out the window.

She was off to the side because she couldn't climb the hill. So I decided to back it out from the side of the road. When I did the front end began to slide and we did a 180 and drove the opposite direction. I made it look like I meant to do that. I decided to take her around Willamette to her home.

I made the bad decision to try the little hill at 19th street. We didn't make it. Instead we began sliding backwards toward a wall of garden rocks. I couldn't steer at all, like a snow disc without any control. By this time a small crowd, including a policeman, had gathered to see this sports car crash into a rock wall. Sliding backwards, I put the car into drive and spun the tires while two people pushed us into the middle of the road. We backed down and successfully made it all the way around Willamette. I was heading toward Summerlinn when she pointed down Debok and shouted, "No, that's where I live!" By then it was too late to make the turn and we spun another 180. I drove back to the corner of Blankenship and Ostman where I made a reverse U-turn. And we tried again. This time we made the turn onto Debok.

We were within 20 yards of her house when I swung wide to try to drive through the gates and into the driveway of the apartments. Only then did I see the two other cars parked beside the entrance -- they didn't make it. We climbed to a stop, started spinning and sliding backwards. That's when I noticed a brick pillar behind me. I still do not know how we were able to avoid that, but we backed down on Debok and found her a parking spot across from the entrance to her apartments. And, I walked home!

Things to consider next time:

  • Don't drive a car you can't afford to fix.
  • Chances are the sports car is on the side of the road in a snow storm -- for a reason!
  • Make sure you can get in a car if you are going to rescue someone.
  • Don't forget about your kids in the family van. (They got stuck twice getting home and got yelled at by the police).
  • If you can't put the top down, at least drive with the window open.
  • If you're going to negotiate an opportunity to drive a BMW convertible, don't do it in the snow. (That whole "closed track, professional driver" thing sounds pretty good).
  • If you can't find your snow disc, rent a BMW Z4.

Post a Comment