239. snow good, ice bad

So the other day, I wrote about how I got to see my first snow (see blog 238). I’ve since learned that snow has an ugly, evil twin called ice.

Monday night was amazing. The snow fell and dusted the world in white. The next morning, my roommate wakes me up and says he can’t make it out the driveway because his car keeps slipping on the embankment (our apartment is situated on the side of a hill). He suggests I call in to work to tell them I’m going to be late.

But I’m stubborn and I don’t like to miss work and my Scion xB comes with traction control so I decide to take my own chances on the road.

I don’t know if it was the traction control or how slow I was going but my car made it out the apartment complex just fine. I mean I could tell it was slippery, but I got over the hill. Once over the hill I thought I was safe but “over the hill” means I’m now heading downhill. I thought that would be no big deal until I hit the brakes to stop at the stop sign at the end of our street.

Now while Scion’s traction control system got me over the hill, it was the antilock braking system that kept me from flying into the intersection. Granted, I didn’t stop right at the stop sign (I skidded a couple feet beyond), but I did stop. I could hear a muffled chattering sound coming from beneath the car. It didn’t take long to realize that was the ABS system pumping the brakes to keep the tires from locking up.

So in the course of two short minutes, I tested two systems on my Scion that I never thought I’d use, and they both performed flawlessly. Thankfully, this meant I didn’t have to test out the airbag deployment system. I love my car.

Oh, I forgot to mention the walk up to my car. All that lovely snow turns otherwise innocent sidewalks into a Keystone Kops banana peel routine. I’m innocently walking to my car, thinking about what I’m going to do if I can’t get out of the driveway like my roommate, when all of a sudden I feel my shoe lose all its grip and my body starts doing this awkward, angular panic dance complete with windmilling arms. Luckily my (Okinawan) ninja reflexes kicked in and I didn’t fall.

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