Car 6

Car 6

Friday, January 31, 2014


A few weeks ago there was a snow storm. The snow was heavy and later in the night all the Crown Vics in the fleet were pulled from active driving and only the front wheel drive mini vans were allowed on the roads. Prior to the Crown Vics being pulled, I was in a Crown Vic cab. I had dropped off a fare at a homeless shelter called DayBreak. A shortcut to exit the shelter is through an alley in the back of the lot. Despite the heavy snow I thought I could make it. I was wrong.

When the car got stuck I tried rocking her back and forth. All I accomplished was getting the car deeper in the snow. After a few minutes of making a bad situation worse, I finally swallowed deep and got on the radio to say, "Car 1 to dispatch. I'm stuck in the alley behind Daybreak." There was a pause and dispatch came on. "Did you try rocking it back and forth, Car 1?" "1 to Dispatch, yeah, she ain't moving."

I heard dispatch on the radio say, "Go John." That meant John, our operations manager was on the radio with them likely talking about my situation. Dispatch came on the radio and told me two drivers were on the way to help me out. Then came an announcement on the radio telling other drivers to stay out of alleys and deep driveways. Now I am feeling really smart. I am the example of what not to do.

While waiting for my rescue I hear my radio's private channel go on. "John to car 1." I breathe deep, grab the radio and say,"Go John." "Car 1. What do we do with alleys when it is snowing?" I replied,"Car 1 to John, I apologize. I thought I had it, I was wrong." "Don't do that to yourself, live and learn." He replied. "10-4, John."

Shortly after the exchange comes Martin. A very large driver in good shape. He and I tried to push it and remove some snow from the wheels to no avail. A few minutes later we see Johnny pull up. Johnnny is almost as large as Martin and has been driving cabs since I was a toddler. He looked at it for a few moments and then told me to get two bags of salt out of my trunk. He told me where to place the salt near the tires. We used almost a full bag. I wondered why we took out two. After a few moments Johnny told me the following.

"Get behind the wheel man, back up as far as you can and hit the accelerator for all she's worth. DON'T touch the wheel. She knows what to do and will get out of the alley. She won't hit anything. Do not touch the wheel and don't stop."

I backed it up a few inches until the tires spun and then put in drive and floored it. I started moving down the alley slowly and the car seemed to be veering so I touched the wheel to guide it halfway through. As soon as I did that, the wheels spun in the snow and stopped moving.

Johnny came running to the car with the other bag of salt. "I told you not to touch the wheel." He applied salt in the places he felt needed salt and then looked at me and said,"Now, do it right this time. Hit the gas, don't steer and don't stop. It's like life. When you get stuck, stop trying to control things, don't fight it and don't stop. You'll get through it and you'll get out."

This time, I backed it up a few inches, hit the gas and did not touch the wheel and did not stop. He was right. The car did not hit anything and it got out of the alley and all I had to do was listen to his experience and not try to control things.

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