Stopping on dry pavement is easy for the most part… so is stopping on snow. But ice? Stopping on ice is almost impossible.
In the past I have found myself feeling like I am trying to stop on ice. I can’t control my direction, I can’t control my speed. Sometimes my life feels as if I’ve been riding along just fine, the roads seem clear, and then out of nowhere–black ice. Unknown. Unseen. Surprise!
My life certainly isn’t like that right now, and for that I am blessed beyond what I can capture in these words. I do see it with some friends, family, strangers, my patients. I see their lives in front of me: either the equivalent of rubbernecking or looking away to avoid their impending crashes on the ice.
We can go out along the road to put up caution signs, spread sand or kitty litter along the paths, or simply encourage our peers to stay home in order to avoid the ice. We can even tell ourselves that our vehicles are AWD so we are safer on the roads.
Our lives are inevitably going to hit ice patches throughout our journeys. How can we become better at stopping on ice?
- Approach intersections with caution: when your life is headed for a possible change in direction, take some time to thoughtfully consider which way you want to go. Slow your life down and be on the lookout for other people coming through the intersection who can’t stop at their red light.
- Accelerate slowly: preventing tires spinning is achieved by pressing that accelerator down gradually. If you go pedal-to-the-metal then your tires won’t have any chance to catch traction and your tires will just start spinning. Whether you are accelerating from a full stop on a new project, or if you are trying to pass someone on a slower path than yourself, ease into the gas to avoid crashing.
- Use your engine to stop while going downhill: downshift your car, use your engine’s ability to throttle back the machine’s speed. If you hit the brakes on a downward slope then the probability that you will slide out of control is much higher! We can all be cruising along (kind of like where I am right now in my life) a downhill slope (and that’s not a bad thing!)… but what happens when that downhill gets a little slippery? Shift into a lower gear, ease into slowing down. Don’t hit your brakes.
- Hold it steady through a curve: just like the ups and downs of a country road, curves are ever-present in our lives, too. The curves can be super fun when the weather is good, but whenever there is a chance for ice to form, proceed into a curve with caution. Find your intended line, keep your steering steady, and maintain your speed. Avoid hitting the brakes or stepping on the gas.