Terror on the roads – my first snow driving experience

My first winter, I had exactly one.

In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad. Though at the time, pretty traumatic.

Ice on windscreen
First thing you have to do is scrape the ice off your windscreen

I scraped the car windows and drove out of the slippery, ice covered parking lot. So far, so good. The weather conditions weren’t bad, but I had a 45 minute drive on the autobahn… and as I found out, conditions can change a lot.

It started snowing and I duly slowed down, following the cars in front of me. At one point a van passed me and a hunk of snow fell from his roof and hit my windscreen with a loud thwump. I had a mini heart attack but at least it wasn’t a hunk of ice! When I entered what I thought was the relative safety of the tunnel, the windscreen fogged up so quickly I literally couldn’t see! It took me a few moments to work out where the controls/windscreen wipers were to rectify the problem. But I was still doing ok.

Autobahn snow driving
Generally the autobahn isn’t too bad

It was when I got off the autobahn that things went bad.

I marvelled at the amount of snow on the sides of the road. At this point the road I was driving on was clear but as I waited to turn left into the university, I realised that I was about to turn onto a snow covered road. Literally covered in inches of snow! Now, I know that the car has special ‘winter’ tyres, but I still have no idea what that means. I watch a couple of cars safely drive down the road so when the light goes green I follow, heart pumping.

The next obstacle is finding a park. The traffic has cleared the road of most of the snow but the parking on either side is just one massive drift. Luckily, it seems a lot of people have stayed home so I pull up to the side, check there’s enough room for cars to get past, and stop. Victory.

TWO HOURS LATER.

It has been snowing steadily and I finish my german lesson and head back to the car. At this point I stop marvelling at the beauty of the falling snow and instead start panicking again because I’m not sure if I can drive my car out. Do I need to dig it out first?

I get in, take a deep breath, start the car and roll backwards a bit, then forwards, then backwards, then forwards. Finally, after a bit of slipping, I gain traction and I’m out on the road.

Oh my God, I’m on the road.

Snow driving

I don’t have to drive home, luckily. I just have to get to the shopping centre where Thomas is meeting me after work. But I’ve never been there before! I navigate snow covered backstreets until I finally find somewhere I can turn around and get back onto a main road.

I am sweating like a demon and my heart is pumping like it’s on a drug-fuelled binge. I am driving as slow as possible and snow is still falling. Finally, I make it to the underground carpark, find a park, stop the car, and burst into tears.

And that’s where it ended. Man, I need a drink right now just writing about this!

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