It had been a few days but the complaint of almost everyone was about the cold. In Texas and apparently to Texans, cold was a word that applied to what in Chicago would be mild echoes of spring.
To my mind, it wasn’t cold, but it did become dangerous. It was dangerous because in Forth Worth everyone drove everywhere. So when the temperatures dropped from the balmy near 50s to just under freezing, the roads iced.
Windshields carried that fuzzy film that meant you had to turn the car on for a day to defrost it or spray the chemical stuff we didn’t have in the rental or scrape the ice manually which is what I end up doing.
We were told that they had no salt. Grammie and Winfield told us about sand and we did see one small salt truck. Neither of those helped on most roads and we were met with many very slow drivers. Grammie mentioned black ice. I turned up the music as I drove. I kept thinking about how cold it wasn’t. I relaxed a little as I got a behind-the-wheel sense of what was.
Still, it was on the way to the Potters House of Fort Worth where we would see a half dozen accidents, closed roads, and police blocking entry ramps. When I drive in those conditions, I drive for others. In those moments, I feel like I drive well, even if stressed because I can’t control the movements of people I assume are silly kids. I take a deep breath. I shake my head at the swift, jerky motions of cars, and I adjust to what I see.
I remember the conditions were dangerous but not so much because of the weather or the streets but the people. If people don’t know how to drive when the roads are slick, they’ll drive the way they normally do. And we saw that as I counted those accidents to the sounds of Meta Washington’s Sunday radio show.
Conditions matter. They impact performance or they should. When a driver acts like they don’t, there will be crashes, likely injuries, and a lot of hassle. That’s what we saw in Fort Worth on the way to and from church. Pastor Winfield told the church to be safe, to slow down, to take care. It felt like the kind of reminder that fit a lot of situations in life.