A wise man once said that true knowledge is much easier to attain when you learn from others mistakes instead of making them yourself. Hopefully, you can learn from what I did wrong and avoid some embarrassment. When I was 16, my parents graciously bought me a $1200 Hyundai Elantra. It had peeling paint, crash damage, and a rear hatch that refused to stay up. It was the ugliest car in my group of friends and I loved it. I could drive it anywhere and that included the ski hill!
The car wasn’t all wheel drive but I decided the front wheel drive was good enough for most snow. Before driving up the snowy roads I went to Walmart and picked up some tire cables just to be safe. My first time up the hill wasn’t great. We didn’t make it very far before I had to put on the tire cables. Over the next few trips I got really good about putting the cables on in 2 min or less. It was all going well until I decided to invite 3 friends to make a trip up the hill with me. I had my brother in the passenger seat, and our friend Max in the back with a girl named Bec.
The car was packed with skis, boots, and boards. Snow was falling hard and the road was completely white. We made it half a mile up the road before we put the cables on in a turn out. There was a ton of traffic on the road that day, so I naturally kept looking over my shoulder to see how many people were behind me. I started going a little faster.
The road was super slippery and the sand was quickly being covered up by fresh snow. At this point I was experiencing a strange amount of anxiety and excitement. I was ready to ski all the fresh snow but I was super nervous about making it up the hill. If I stopped, I would have trouble getting going again. If I went too fast I would go out of control and have trouble turning or stopping. I was creeping along when I came to one of the hairpin turns on Mt. Rose Highway. As soon as I started to turn I felt the rear end start to slide…
I was only going 8 mph but the road was too slick. I whipped the wheel around to full lock in an attempt to correct the slide. It prevented me from sliding into the other land but it wasn’t perfect as I now had to deal with a new problem. I was facing toward the inside bank in an uncontrolled slide. I kept the wheel turned and made an impact with the snow. It was soft and my tires cut right through it. I was half on the road and half off the road.
I jumped out of the call and looked at the terrible situation before me. I was off the road and my car was definitely stuck. I kept a small shovel in the back of my car and decided my only option was to start digging. At this point I was so embarrassed I only had two options. One, I could dig out my car, or two, I could dig my own grave right there in the snow bank. Since I’m writing this now I obviously choose option one.After assessing the situation I looked to the heavens and threw up my arms. Even if I dug all day there was no way I could dig this much snow. I was going to have to pay for a tow and wait for hours until they arrived.
Just as I was calling the tow truck our luck seemed to change. A huge lifted truck pulled up and asked me if I wanted a pull. I was ecstatic! This was an answer to prayers and I gladly took his offer. He backed up and got a tow strap out. We used the tow point on the front of my car and the hitch on his truck as attachment points. We piled back into the car before giving him the thumbs up. With a puff of diesel smoke and a little spinning of tires my car was back on the road. We stayed on the strap until the next turn out. The guy took his strap back and refused to take any payment from us. This man was an example to me and now I stop to pull people out whenever I see them (the wise man’s advice should have included learning from other people’s good deeds too).
After the incident we had a great day skiing and made it home without any problems. I told my parents what happened and they put on a good face but I could tell this worried them. I never thought something was wrong with the car until I took it for an alignment a few months and many trips up the hill later. The guy at the tire shop told me the tires on my car were 9 years old and while they didn’t have any dry rot or low thread they needed to be replaced. He told me tha rubber tires expire and lose a lot of their grip after 6 or more years. I was skeptical at first but after talking to my parents they said it was a safety issue and decided to replace all four tires.
The next time I drove up the mountain I was in a whole new world! The tires had a ridiculous amount of grip and I had no problems taking the corners at 25 mph. Since then I haven’t had any problems sliding off the road. I learned a lot about tire life and now it’s something I look at whenever I buy cars. So learn from my mistakes! Make sure your tires haven’t expired, especially if you are driving your friends and a cute girl up to the ski hill.