Every forecast was calling for 5 to 8 inches of snow here in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, at least they were when I set out for work yesterday morning. Matt had taken off about fifteen or twenty minutes before me, and I had asked him to sweep the snow off my car while I was still getting ready for work. I had parked the Mazda in the lot down the street, and when I finished my minute-and-a-half long walk, there was almost another inch of accumulation on the roof and windows. I turned the car on and began cleaning off the roof and windows.
I was a snow-covered mess when I finally was able to plop down on the drivers' seat. It was snowing like crazy outside. The forecast had said we were going to get maybe 5 to 8 inches throughout the entire day. At that moment, it should have been raining, and it wasn't. It was that foggy sort of snow that makes it very difficult to see where you're going.
I made my way carefully onto my usual route to work. I figured schools would be closed so traffic might not be so bad. I was, of course, completely mistaken. Not only was the road poorly plowed, but as I approached Second Avenue, I noticed the line of brake lights leading up to Route 23. My usual route is to make a left onto Route 23 and take that most of the way to work. I waited in the traffic line, and we sloooowly inched along. Squinting down to Route 23, I could see a tractor trailer just sitting at the intersection, blocking most of the lanes. I watched the light change in the distance to a hazy green about three times with no one moving forward at all. Two other cars ahead of me did their best 3-point turns in the snow and headed the other direction. I waited until I could make a left and turn around at First Avenue, and I did the same.
Okay, I thought to myself, I'll go down through town to Route 422. Route 422 is always busy, regardless of the weather. Surely the roads leading up to it were clear. I called my office to see if anyone had made it in. Maybe I had missed the announcement that the school was closing for the day? I got a text from my husband. "So I've been in the car for 45 minutes and I'm just now at 422." Oh shit. Route 422 is a two-to-five minute drive on any other day of the week. Traffic must be bad everywhere.
I turned left onto Bridge Street, and again, the traffic was just crawling if it was moving at all. This pace did not bode well, as about a mile up the road are some pretty steep hills. It was 8:30am. I should've been at the office by now. I called the office again, but no one answered. Matt called me to say he is running out of gas and nowhere near close enough to the next station. He's reaching the 422 overpass off of Egypt Road, which is where I was attempting to go myself.
I had to keep stopping heading uphill toward Egypt Road. There was no place to turn around, not for another quarter mile or so. If I could just stick it out, I could turn at the deli and go back home. I had left the house 45 minutes ago, never getting more than a mile and a half in any direction. I have never seen so many cars in a line of traffic do a bunch of three-point turns and go the opposite way. Matt called again. He had managed to get onto Route 422 going the opposite direction of traffic. He told me he would get off at the next exit and get gas there, then decide whether to continue on to work.
Another ten minutes or so went by, and I was finally able to turn around on the street next to the mom-and-pop deli. I could see Egypt Road up the hill, about 500 feet away. There was a firetruck and a police car blocking a full lane of Route 29, which ran up the hill. Most cars were turning right onto Egypt Road instead of going straight. I had to wait for traffic to inch forward enough that a kind commuter might let me pass to turn around. I called my office again, and there was no answer. I called my co-worker, and he was already on the road. He lives near the turnpike--his roads were not so bad.
I finally started to make my way back home. Up the road from me, a Cadillac had just started to block traffic again, as he attempted to three-point-turn his way out like many people, he got stuck. The Mazda fishtailed a few times on my mile-long drive back home. My small suburban town was like a giant parking lot of commuters. I managed to snag a parking space in front of the house. I got inside and called my boss to inform her there was no possible way that I could make it.
Our office ended up closing at noon. We were closed again today. Driving in hazardous weather can be such a fiasco.
Later on, I realized how lucky I was to have a satisfactory blood glucose level during all of that. I was basically trapped in my car for almost two hours! Can you imagine if you were having a low during that time? Or if your insulin pump stopped working? What if you would have been trapped in the car longer than that? Situations like these are the reason why I try to always have emergency supplies with me nowadays. I am never far from a travel pack of glucose tabs or a syringe and some Novolog. Winter weather is in full swing. I hope everyone is prepared!