Snow Driving

It had been trying to snow all lesson, from Langwith up to Worksop the sky heavy with snow filled clouds and the temperature outside so cold that when Matt got in the car his glasses steamed up.

“I can’t believe you’re doing a lesson in this weather!”
I looked over at him and smiled. He was doing well with his driving, driving test booked but it was a few months off still.
“You know my policy, if I can get to you, you go out for a lesson!” He didn’t look too convinced. “Look, “ I tried to cajole him, “it’s not settling on the ground and think of the experience you’re going to get in having a lesson in this! What’s going to happen when you pass your test, are you not going to drive in snow?!”

With the basic rules of driving in snow recapped, distance to be left and what visibility would be like, we set off towards Worksop. As soon as we got there the weather started to turn for the worse. The snow started settling on the roads and the temperature dropped well below freezing. Our speed slowed to a crawl and Matt was quite relieved when we turned the car in the direction of the A60 and headed for home.

Other instructors out on the road were not all that bothered today to waving a cheery ‘hello’ as we passed each other, their faces ranged from a look of terror and panic, to pure focus and concentration. Matt however, was doing well and seemed to have a good handle of the car in the snow that was gathering on the roads.

“So Matt, are you glad you went out for a drive today?”
He turned and broke out into the biggest grin.
“It was awesome! I think I’m going to go and find out how to be a rally driver in snow!” He turned and looked at the weather, the snow was falling in huge 50p sized flakes and you could hardly see his front door from the road.
“Are you going to be ok driving home though? This doesn’t look good.”
I assured him I would be fine and with next week lesson planned I set off for home myself.

The lesson out in Langwith was a bit of a drag sometimes, but in this case the pupil made it worthwhile. The other thing that made this lesson good was the drive home. Through back lanes twisty and turning, passing spaces and it felt like my driving skills were being tested as you never knew what would be round the corner. Kids on bikes, or a young lad in a modded Subaru or the other popular car around here – an Evo.

The snow though was really falling heavy and as I reached the end of his road I wondered if it would be better to wait a while, see if it cleared. I pulled in outside a village post office and checked the weather on my mobile. 70% chance of heavy snow all evening. Well, if I was going to make it home I had better move.

Slowly, the car and I set off. For some reason still unknown to me, I took the back roads. Sense and practicality said “At least stick to the bus route”, but I just knew I had to drive over that fresh, undriven on snow that lead down to the farm shop. Nobody in their right minds drove that road in snow, and I thought I’d be partly still in my right mind as it had only just started to snow!

The snow gently stopped as I turned the corner and the picture in front of me was just spectacular. This road was flat, only 5 minutes away from the main road and civilization. To the right hand side of the road there was a hedge, gently topped with about 2 inches of pure white snow. The left hand side of the road was hedge free, but there was a ditch before the fields which began. The sky was glowing with an orange-pink glow. I stopped the car at the side of the road and just looked.

“Amazing!” It was one of those times I was lost for words, which didn’t happen all that often. I put my gloves on and turned the car engine off. Wrapped my scarf around my neck and reached back for my big winter coat from the seat behind me. I got out of the car and walked round to the front. Normally here, you would hear the sound of the main road not far away. But that night it was as though the whole world had it’s ‘mute’ button pressed. The snow was 2 inches deep and on this road, I was right – it was untouched! I sat for a long while perched on my car bonnet just looking and being in that moment. To all intents and purposes, at that time I could have been the only person left on the planet.

There were no sounds at all, except that noise that my boots made as they crunched the snow. It wasn’t cold really, there was no wind. Just for a moment, everything stood still.

These moments are what make life sparkle. The times when the Universe knows exactly what your soul needs even if you don’t, and drops you into a huge tank of it. Eventually, I peeled myself out of wonderland and back into the car.

It was time for tea, and to make a snowman.

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